SPARTANBURG, S.C. (courtesy wofford.edu) — The South Carolina Innocence Initiative at Wofford College hosted a screening on Oct. 16 of “The Worst Crime,” a documentary focusing on crime, punishment, and mental competency, followed by a panel discussion.
The panel included the Rev. Hillary Taylor, executive director of South Carolina Alternatives for the Death Penalty; former death row inmate Jimmy MacPhee, now a writer, speaker and mentor to young prisoners and the founder of On the Rock Ministries; SueZann Bosler, daughter of a murder victim; and Chelsea McNeill, 8th judicial circuit public defender.
“The event highlighted issues surrounding the death penalty, both legal and moral, and is especially relevant given that last month the state of South Carolina announced it will resume executions via lethal injection after a 12-year hiatus,” said Dr. Dawn McQuiston, professor of psychology and director of the South Carolina Innocence Initiative.
Taylor has worked against the death penalty since 2015, when she organized a campaign advocating for a woman on Georgia’s death row. When she returned to South Carolina, Taylor became a pen pal to a death row inmate. She has pushed to abolish the state’s death penalty ever since.
MacPhee was 20 years old when he was sentenced to death for killing a man during an armed robbery. After three years on South Carolina’s death row, he was resentenced to life in prison. He was paroled in March 2020 after serving 45 years.
Bosler’s father died after being stabbed numerous times during a 1986 attack at their home in Miami, Florida. She was severely injured in the same attack. Her father, a minister, opposed the death penalty, and Bosler spent years successfully fighting against their attacker’s execution. She continues to advocate for the abolition of the death penalty.
McNeill graduated from Charleston School of Law in 2010. She has worked in the 8th circuit’s public defender’s office for more than 11 years.