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Jerry Givens, executioner turned death-penalty critic, dead at 67

Obit-Jerry Givens
Posted at 3:06 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 15:06:25-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A man who served as Virginia’s chief executioner for 17 years before going to prison and becoming a prominent voice against capital punishment has died. Jerry Givens was 67.

His son, Terence Travers, says Givens died Monday in Henrico, which is outside of Richmond.

Travers didn't provide a cause of death but said his father had pneumonia and had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Givens spoke out against the death penalty in talks throughout the country. He described the job’s grim intimacy and emotional toll as well as his fears of killing the innocent.

Givens served as Virginia’s executioner from 1982 to 1999. He said he presided over 62 executions.