Reading Advocate
 March 31, 2005

 Friday night vigil spreads the word
 By Sarah Shemkus/ Special To The Advocate

 Hoping to add momentum to what some see as a national movement away from 
 capital punishment, more than two dozen people gathered in Reading center 
 Friday afternoon for an anti-death penalty vigil. 
 "What we do in Massachusetts has reverberations more broadly," said Lisa 
 Carusone, who traveled from Weston to participate in the demonstration. 
 The event, which takes place annually on Good Friday, was organized by 
 several activist groups including the Boston North Chapter of 
 Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty, and Amnesty 
 "It's an appropriate time to think about the death penalty-how its used 
 and how state power is abused," explained Charlie Wilton of Woburn, the 
 group's spokesperson. 

 The death penalty has been in the national spotlight recently, with strong 
 declarations against capital punishment coming from both the Supreme Court 
 and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in the past month. 
 On March 21, the bishops announced a renewed intention to fight the death 
 penalty, and earlier in the month the Supreme Court found executing 
 juvenile offenders to be unconstitutional. 
 "Something that has galvanized us is the Supreme Court decision on the 
 juvenile death penalty," said Carusone. "There's some momentum." 
 Vigil participants surrounded the grass square at the intersection of 
 Main, Woburn, and Lowell streets, displaying signs with such slogans as 
 "Execute Justice, Not People," and "Don't Kill In My Name," to the rush 
 hour traffic. 
 "This is the first time I have my own sign," said Wilton's son Ethan, 6, 
 who proudly held a yellow poster urging "No DP in MA." 
 Many of the demonstrators remained largely silent throughout the 45-minute 
 vigil, responding to the honks and waves of passing drivers with only a 
 slight nod, in order, one participant explained, to show respect for the 
 gravity of the issue. 
 Though Massachusetts is currently one of only 12 states without capital 
 punishment, Governor Mitt Romney has declared plans to introduce a bill 
 reinstating the death penalty with regulations and safeguards that will 
 make the system nearly infallible. 
 The vigil participants, however, believe that an error-proof process is 
 not sufficient. 
 "It's impossible to have a perfect system," said Carusone. "There are ways 
 to safeguard the public without resorting to the death penalty." 
 The potential for new death penalty legislation makes it especially 
 important to organize events like the vigil, said Wilton. 

 "Our legislature is very likely going to be voting on it quite soon," said 
 Wilton. "It's something people need to be aware of."