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Explore the themes of Dead Man Walking through a series of thought-provoking engagements from a film screening and panel discussions to a master class and book clubs. For mature audiences only. 17+

Religious Round Table

Thursday, April 10, 6-8 pm, Denver
Engage in an interfaith discussion on the death penalty with leaders from the Catholic, Jewish, Greek Orthodox, Buddhist and Unitarian Universalist faiths. FREE admission. [Round table details]
 

Central City Days: Divas and Desperados

July 13 and 19, 11:30-1:30 pm, followed by the Dead Man Walking matinee at 2:30 pm
Head to the hills for an afternoon adventure. Bring your lunch to the picturesque Central City Cemetery to hear the tales of the county’s most infamous bad boys and naughty girls. See who spent time behind bars at Washington Hall followed by short historic tours that will introduce you to the town’s most notorious characters, ending with a gunfight. [Central City Days details]

Dead Man Walking - The Opera

Performed select dates July 5 through 25
Rated R (17+) - Mature Audiences Only:  Violence, Language & Nudity
Based on the book by Sister Helen Prejean, which also inspired the award-winning movie, Jake Heggie’s powerful opera follows the true story of a nun’s spiritual journey as she counsels a Louisiana death row inmate. Sister Helen struggles with her own religious convictions as she leads the prisoner down a path to redemption. [Opera details]

Book Clubs
Do you love to read? Pick up a copy of Dead Man Walking from the Tattered Cover and join one of their book clubs in exploring the themes of this powerful true story. Denver Public Library Central Branch will also offer the experience to readers through their book clubs. Take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the author Sister Helen Prejean at the book signing on March 12 at the Jewish Community Center.

PAST EVENTS

Book Signing and Film Screening
Wednesday, March 12, 6:00-9:00 pm, Denver
Meet Sister Helen Prejean, author of the book Dead Man Walking, at a book signing sponsored by the Tattered Cover and a screening of the film by the same name starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. FREE admission. Bring your own book or buy one on site. Also featuring a special performance by Central City Opera Ensemble Artists. [Book Signing/Film Screening details]

Symposium
Thursday, March 13, 3:30-5:30 pm, Glendale
Join panelists Sister Helen Prejean, opera composer Jake Heggie, DA George Brauchler of Arapahoe County, Defense Mitigation Specialist Greta Lindecrantz and victim survivor Dana Sampson for a symposium on the death penalty and other themes related to Dead Man Walking. FREE admission. [Symposium details]
 Master Class with the Composer
Friday, March 14, 4:30-6:30 pm, Colorado Springs
Select students, faculty and alumni performers will have a unique opportunity to learn the magic behind creating a piece like Dead Man Walking through a master class with composer Jake Heggie, performance by Central City Opera Ensemble Artists and a reception afterwards. RSVP by March 13 to Autumn at aschubauer@csconservatory.org or via phone at 719.577.4556. [Master class details]
 

Generously sponsored by the Greater Glendale Chamber of Commerce.

Thank you to our collaborating partners: City and Chamber of Commerce of Glendale, University of Denver – Constitutional Right and Remedies Program, Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, Greek Orthodox Metropolis Cathedral of Denver, Tattered Cover, Denver Public Libraries, Colorado Springs Conservatory, ACLU, Gilpin History.
MEET THE SYMPOSIUM PANELISTS
more
  • Sister Helen Prejean, Author of the book Dead Man Walking 
  • Jake Heggie, Composer of the opera Dead Man Walking
  • George H. Brauchler, District Attorney
  • Dana Sampson, victim survivor
  • Greta Lindecrantz, Defense Mitigation specialist
  • Moderated by Sam Kamin, Director, Constitutional Rights & Remedies Program at Denver Law


Sister Helen Prejean has been instrumental in sparking national dialogue on the death penalty and helping to shape the Catholic Church’s newly vigorous opposition to state executions. A member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, she travels around the world giving talks about her ministry.
 
She spent her first years with the Sisters teaching religion to junior high school students. Realizing that being on the side of poor people is an essential part of the Gospel she moved into the St. Thomas Housing Project in New Orleans and began working at Hope House from 1981 – 1984. During this time, she was asked to correspond with a death row inmate Patrick Sonnier at Angola and later became his spiritual adviser.  After witnessing his execution, she wrote a book about the experience.
 
The result was Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States. It
became a movie, an opera and a play for high schools and colleges. Since 1984, Sister Helen has been educating citizens about the death penalty and counseling death row prisoners, accompanying six men to their deaths. Suspecting that some of those executed were not guilty, she wrote the book The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions.
 
Sr. Helen is presently at work on another book, River of Fire: My Spiritual Journeywww.sisterhelen.org
 


Jake Heggie is the American composer of the operas Moby-Dick, Dead Man WalkingThree DecembersTo Hell and Back, and Out of Darkness: a triptych of Holocaust stories. He has also composed more than 250 songs, as well as chamber, choral and orchestral works. The operas – most created with the distinguished writers Terrence McNally and Gene Scheer – have been produced extensively on five continents. Dead Man Walking (McNally) has received 40 productions since its premiere, as well as two live recordings. Heggie, a Guggenheim Fellow, has served as a mentor to Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative for young composers and librettists for the past two seasons. www.jakeheggie.com
 


George H. Brauchler is the District Attorney of the Eighteenth Judicial District, which includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties.  The Eighteenth Judicial District currently has four death penalty cases – more than any other judicial district in the state. Mr. Brauchler is an experienced prosecutor and civil trial attorney, a national trainer of prosecutors, and a U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General officer.  Mr. Brauchler has taught criminal procedure and advanced trial advocacy at the University Of Denver College Of Law and the University of Colorado school of Law from 2002 until the present. From 2006 through 2011 he guest hosted talk News Radio 850 KOA and 630 KHOW.
 


Dana Sampson, one of three daughters of Richard and Lynn Ehlenfeldt, lost her parents just prior to her 21st birthday in the Browns Chicken massacre in Palantine, IL on January 8, 1993. The horrific and brutal crime went unsolved for nine years but eventually two men were arrested and charged. The first trial was five years after the arrests and the second trial was another two years after that. Both men were convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole though both have appealed the verdicts. The Ehlenfeldt sisters did not seek the death penalty.  
 
Dana now resides in Gilbert, AZ with her husband of 18 years and four children.  Ms. Sampson works as a Physical Therapist for Banner Home Care. The middle sister of three girls (Jennifer and Joy), she grew up in the midwest with loving, caring parents who taught compassion for others and instilled the importance of helping people and giving back to others.  
 


Greta Lindecrantz has two disparate roles for defense legal teams as a Mitigation Specialist and a Defense Initiated Victim Outreach (DIVO). As a mitigation specialist she works with the defense team and experts to develop a comprehensive and cohesive mitigation case for presentation in the penalty phase of a death penalty trial.  Among other things, Greta compiles a comprehensive and well-documented psycho-social history of the client based on exhaustive investigation and record collection and analyzes the significance of the information in terms of impact on the defendant to find mitigating themes in the client’s life.  As a DIVO, Greta serves as an advocate on behalf of victim survivors to the defense team by engaging in dialogue with the victim survivors to ensure that their interests, needs, and concerns are being conveyed to the defense attorneys throughout the death penalty judicial proceedings. In this role, Greta worked with Dana Sampson’s family.



Panel Moderator, Sam Kamin, (Director, Constitutional Rights & Remedies Program at Denver Law) joined the faculty at the Sturm College of Law in 1999.  Holding both a JD and a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, Professor Kamin is active in the Law and Society Association and in the field of law and social science generally. Professor Kamin’s research interests include criminal procedure, death penalty jurisprudence, federal courts and constitutional remedies. He is the co-author of two books analyzing California’s “three strikes and you’re out” law and has published scholarly articles in the Virginia Law ReviewIndiana Law JournalBoston College Law Journal and Law and Contemporary Problems, among others.

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