Angel on Death Row
FRONTLINE takes on the death penalty debate with a personal profile of the woman behind the highly acclaimed motion picture Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean. With her 1993 book adapted for Hollywood starring Susan Sarandon, the nun from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, became the nation's leading voice against the death penalty. FRONTLINE follows Prejean's crusade against the death penalty while serving as spiritual advisor to five death row inmates. The program centers on the grisly 1980 Louisiana murder of Faith Hathaway, a crime for which Robert Lee Willie was executed four years later. The film features the first, exclusive interview with Debbie Morris, a young woman who was kidnapped and brutally raped by Willie just three days before he raped and killed Hathaway. But Prejean's opposition to the death penalty has prompted criticism from death penalty advocates, including Hathaway's mother and step-father who believe the nun's compassion for condemned criminals, rather than their victims, is misguided.