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David Paul Hammer's CCADP Webpage

Originally published in 'Universe Updated' June 1999
by Intercommunity Center for Justice & Peace

- 20 Washington Square North, New York, New York

The week before Christmas a letter came to Cherish Life Circle from David Paul Hammer,
on Death Row In Allentown, Pennsylvania, requesting two things :
prayers for himself and his murder victim, Andrew Marti,
and someone to serve as a spiritual guide during the remainder of his time on earth.

A relative of Mr. Hammer in Colorado was aware of the Declaration of Life we celebrate, 
expressing personal opposition to capital punishment,
and knowing of his search for a spiritual guide suggested he contact us.

This was a new addition to our concerns which include circulating the Declaration
and providing oppoetunities for faith sharing and discussion around the divisive topic of the death penalty. 
We also provide occasional prayer services for families and friends of murder victims.

After a fruitless effort to find someone through diocesan contacts in Pennsylvania, 
I decided to visit him myself.  On Dec 30, Edward Doherty and I met with Mr Hammer and thus
began our association, conducted primarily by mail.  Soon after our visit,
he was transfered to death row in a Federal Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado.

David has been swinging on the pendulum between wanting to die and wanting to live. 
What has not wavered is his sincere, utter remorse and desire for forgiveness
for murdering his cellmate on April 13, 1996. 

I have to come to care very much about David Paul Hammer, as has Edward Docherty.

"It is the judgement of this court that the defendant, 
David Paul Hammer, be and is hereby sentenced to death. 
It is ordained that the Attorney General shall release Mr Hammer to the
custody of a United States marshall, who shall, on January 14th, 1999
at 10:00 A.M, supervise implementation of the sentence of death by lethal injection. "

My name is David, and those are the words spoken in open court as a senior
United States District Judge in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, sentenced me to death on November 4, 1998. 
My fate was sealed, a fate that was welcomed by me at the time, one I had even battled for. 
Over the strenous objections of my attorneys,
I had requested an immediate execution date with no appeals.

In April of 1996, I murdered Andrew Marti, who was assigned to share a
cell with me in the Special Housing Unit at the United States Penitentiary, White Deer, Pennsylvania.  
With my own hands, I killed Andrew by strangling him. 
To this day, I cannot attribute any motive for my actions. 
If this rendition of the bare facts appears cold and callous,
it is because the act of murder by its nature is a heinous and despicable act.

My actions not only ended Andrews life at the age of twenty - seven :  
they took away forever a son, a brother, an uncle, and any opportunity
for a reconciliation between Andrew and his father. 
I destroyed lives, caused pain, grief, and suffering beyond comprehension.

These facts were indelibly etched into my memory as I listened to the
testimony of Andrew's father during the sentencing phase of my trial. 
With tears silently flowing I sat immobile as Mr Marti candidly spoke of
Andrew and of how he had used a 'tough love,' approach towards Andy when he began to get into trouble. 

I listened as this man wept while attempting to read the last letter from Andrew,
written only five days before he was murdered. 
Andrew's written words were pleadings that he be given a second chance to be a loving son,
to make his father proud, and to be more than the black sheep of the family.

In my heart, mind and soul, I felt as if I must pay with my own life as a way
 to help ease the pain I'd caused. 

I wanted to die, rather than have to face a lifetime of remembering.

At age forty, having spent twenty - one plus years being continuously incarcerated
(with the exception of two brief periods on escape status), I have grown up in prison. 

My life has been, for the most part, a wasted one. 
My upbringing and childhood were marked by poverty, abuse, and many other of society's ills.  
Nevertheless, in the end one must accept responsibility for who and what he is.  
We all make choices : to blame other people or aspects of life is, in my opinion, a cop-out.

Notwithstanding my personal beliefs, my attorney spent days presenting testimony from family and friends,
outlining the horrors of my past and the effects caused by them. 
For me, it was like reliving a nightmare, as privately guarded family secrets were aired in public
and reported by the media.   Once again, because of my actions, pain and suffering were
thrust upon my own family and friends.  Ultimately, the jury, while finding
an array of mitigating factors to exist, rendered a verdict of death.

In the months which have passed since the jury's verdict and the imposition of the death sentence,
an appeal was filed on my behalf. 
I have come to realize and understand that in the eyes of God,
all life is sacred.

Through the love, guidance, concern and understanding of family and friends it has become
clear to me that by dying I will forfeit any opportunity to make amends to those whom I have harmed.  
With the assistance of those members of such organizations as The Cherished Life Circle,
Catholics Against Capital Punishment, and Murder Victims Families For Reconciliation,
I've learned my willingness to surrender to the executioners needle
will not necessarily bring peace or solace to Andrew's family.

With Father Ed Docherty as an intermediary, I am attempting to initiate a
reconciliation with the Marti family in order to express my deep
remorse and sorrow for all I have done to them. 

I am trusting in God, in his love and mercy.

Whatever time I have left here on Earth will be spent making amends wherever possible,
keeping Andrew's memory alive, and thanking God for the many blessings he has given me.

I welcome correspondence from anyone.


David Paul Hammer  2450277
Federal Death Row Unit
 PO Box 33
Terre Haute, Indiana
 47808   USA

David Paul Hammer's CCADP Webpage

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Last updated December 24, 2010  Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty
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