Last week, Texas Moratorium Network held a sneak preview of the new film “At the Death House Door” about Rev Carroll Pickett, who attended 95 executions in Texas as chaplain. The New York Times has an article today on the film and Pickett, who will be speaking at the Democrats Against the Death Penalty Caucus at the State Convention of the Texas Democratic Party on Friday, June 6 in Austin in room 6A on Level three of the Austin Convention Center.
The documentary, which will be shown Thursday night on the Independent Film Channel, reveals that Mr. Pickett, a 74-year-old Presbyterian minister, was anguished by his job, and that he finally concluded that the death penalty served neither justice nor morality. He says he believes that some of the men he helped lead to death were innocent.
“After each execution I made a tape on everybody that I walked with to the death chamber,” Mr. Pickett says early in the film as the camera trains on his office, full of boxes of cassette tapes. “I knew I had to talk to somebody, and the only thing in my house at that time was a tape recorder.”
Of all those executions, he was most haunted by that of Carlos De Luna, convicted of stabbing to death a gas station clerk in Corpus Christi, Tex., in 1983. Mr. De Luna asked if he could call the minister Daddy on the day in 1989 when, at 27, he was executed despite his protestations of innocence. Two reporters for The Chicago Tribune wrote a series of articles in 2006 that made a case that Mr. De Luna was wrongfully convicted. Mr. Pickett said he believes that Mr. De Luna was innocent, and the minister’s relationship with the condemned man is a focus of the film.