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Dead Man Walking | Study Guide

Sister Helen Prejean

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Dead Man Walking | Key Figures

Key Figure Description
Sister Helen Prejean Sister Helen Prejean is a nun who lives and works in poor communities in Louisiana. Read More
Millard Farmer Millard Farmer is a lawyer and advocate against the death penalty for capital crimes. Read More
Vernon Harvey Vernon Harvey is the stepfather of Faith Hathaway, a young woman who was murdered by Robert Willie (with his accomplice Joseph Vaccaro). Read More
Patrick Sonnier Elmo Patrick "Pat" Sonnier is an inmate on Angola's death row who was convicted of murder and sentenced to be executed. Read More
Robert Willie Robert Willie is a death row inmate who was convicted of the murder of Faith Hathaway; his accomplice, Joseph Vaccaro, got life imprisonment for his part in the crime. Read More
Tim Baldwin Tim Baldwin was a death row inmate who was executed even though most officials believed he was innocent. No official acted to commute his death sentence.
Frank C. Blackburn Frank C. Blackburn is the warden of Angola State Penitentiary when Robert Willie is executed there.
Chava Colon Chava Colon is an anti–death penalty activist who works with the Prison Coalition and introduces Sister Helen Prejean to death row prisoners who need a spiritual adviser.
Kendall Coody Kendall Coody is the supervisor in charge of Angola's death row. He is troubled by executions and his role in overseeing the death penalty.
Governor Edwin Edwards Governor Edwin Edwards is the governor of Louisiana during the period of time this book covers. He personally opposes, or has reservations about, the death penalty but will not commute death sentences for political reasons—for example, he wants to appear "tough on crime" to voters.
Elizabeth Harvey Elizabeth Harvey is the mother of Faith Hathaway, who was murdered by Robert Willie. She shares the desire of her husband, Vernon, for revenge through the execution of Robert Willie.
Lloyd LeBlanc Although his son, David, is murdered by Patrick Sonnier, Lloyd LeBlanc forgives Sonnier and would accept a life sentence for him instead of execution.
Ross Maggio Ross Maggio is the warden of Angola State Penitentiary during the period Patrick Sonnier is on death row and later executed.
Howard Marsellus Howard Marsellus is the head of the Pardon Board who hears appeals for the commutation of Patrick Sonnier's death sentence.
Penton Penton is the Christian chaplain at Angola State Penitentiary during the time Patrick Sonnier is on death row. He interviews and approves Prejean as Sonnier's spiritual adviser.
C. Paul Phelps C. Paul Phelps is the head of the Louisiana Department of Corrections, which supports executions. However, Phelps does not personally believe in the death penalty.
Bill Quigley Bill Quigley is an attorney in Louisiana who works with the Prison Coalition, a group that helps in appeals for inmates, both on and off death row.
John Rabelais John Rabelais is the official in charge of the death row block (Camp F) at Angola. Rabelais likes Patrick Sonnier but has no problem overseeing death row and the death penalty.
Liz Scott Liz Scott is a Louisiana print journalist and reporter who covers executions and shares Prejean's abolitionist views. She and Prejean become friends.
Eddie Sonnier Patrick's brother, Eddie Sonnier, participates in the murder that leads to a sentence of life imprisonment.
Gladys Sonnier Gladys Sonnier is the mother of Patrick and Eddie. She is highly emotional and distraught at the fate of her sons, especially the execution of Patrick.
Joe Vaccaro Joe Vaccaro is Robert Willie's accomplice in the murder of Faith Hathaway.
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