Death Class

Death Penalty
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Nebraska Wesleyan professor Jim Hewitt handed out fading photos from a decades-old double murder.

His students passed around the pictures as Hewitt described past Nebraska murders. It was all part of Hewitt's three-week winter-term class, History of the Death Penalty.

During the semester, the students and even Hewitt, found themselves questioning their positions on the death penalty.

The class got plenty input from outside sources.

Nebraskas Against the Death Penalty leader Kevin Bernadt came to class. So did Nebraska's Correctional Services Director Harold Clarke.

Even Governor Mike Johanns dropped by unannounced. That came after his daughter, who was in the class, told him some speakers had criticized his position on capital punishment.

Debates were heated, but the class did come to one consensus: They did not believe executing someone deters crime.