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On May 18, 1992, Time magazine put Roger Keith Coleman on its cover with the caption: “This man might be innocent. This man is due to die.” Reporter Jill Smolowe began her story by asking, “Must this man die? . . . That could be a tragic mistake.”

Two days later Mr. Coleman was executed for raping, stabbing, partially beheading, and ultimately murdering his wife’s sister, Wanda McCoy. From the time of his arrest until the day of his death, Coleman pled innocent. He became the darling of the media and the poster boy for several anti-death penalty groups. But all doubt about his innocence was laid to rest in January 2006 when new DNA tests proved that Coleman was the murderer (and a liar).

Some critics of capital punishment maintain that the risks of killing an innocent man make the death penalty untenable. Advances in forensic science, however, are minimizing these risks. Still, there is an even more important, first-order question to be addressed. What does the Bible say about capital punishment?

(SOURCE: from a sermon by Freddy Fritz, "Crime and Punishment" 7/19/08)

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