(Tennessee is planning to execute Don Johnson tonight for the murder of his wife, Connie, in 1984. Johnson is a very different man from the one who walked onto death row all those years ago. He became a Seventh Day Adventist, and was ordained by that church as a deacon because of the ministry work he has been doing with other condemned prisoners, which includes Bible study classes. Church officials and members, as well as Johnson’s stepdaughter, have asked the state to spare his life, to no avail.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee who, according to the Times Free Press, was elected last year after a “campaign that centered on his religious faith,” refused to grant clemency to Johnson in spite of his conversion and his exemplary life in prison. It’s hard to understand, isn’t it? People who purport to be Christian but can’t find it in their hearts to grant mercy to people who have turned their lives around after a terrible act. Isn’t Christianity supposed to be all about the belief in redemption?

Johnson’s execution is the first of four Tennessee is planning for this year. Last year, after a nine-year hiatus, the state killed three prisoners.)

To all of those and the pain that I have caused.

Especially: My Son Jason, My Daughter Cindy, and Connie’s family,

I would humbly ask for your forgiveness for the pain that I have caused for you and so many others in my life. Yet mere words just do not seem to be sufficient when I speak them! I truly regret my life and what I became in the process. I am and will continue to carry the pain of all the grief that I have caused others to endure and that I have hurt so many others.

It is because of the person that I had became that I found that I was not a man but a
monster and I was determined this would no longer be acceptable and I sought the Lord for I was at the bottom of the barrel and the only way left for me was up, I remember some of what I had learned and heard in church that the only possibility left for me was to take it to the Lord and I earnestly sought the Lord and still do each day and will continue to until I draw my last breath here on this earth.

It was the life that I had chosen that lead to the darkest day I had ever experienced and not until I took the responsibility for my wife Connie’s death could I receive forgiveness and start on that road to healing. The Lord in His mercy has forgiven me and all I can so is pray that you too will find it in your heart to forgive me as well, for there is no way I can fix or take back the person that I had become, and not a day goes by that I do not experience the pain of knowing the grief I had caused so many others to suffer in the process.

For as long as I live I will carry with me the knowledge of the things I have done and the grief I have caused others to suffer and will continue to pray for the lord to make me a better person, that I may share some hope and share the love of the Lord which has been shown to me, please forgive me and ask the lord to help you and comfort you and to ease the pain and grief you have suffered that I am responsible and have caused. I truly am sorry and if I knew something that I could do to ease your pain I would gladly do it.

In Christ Love

May the lord give you peace

Don Johnson

(Courtesy of the Tennessean)

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