The savage murder of 78-year-old Bible teacher Ruth Pelke by four teen-age girls was the beginning of Bill Pelke’s Journey of Hope...From Violence to Healing. Initially Bill did not object when 15-year old Paula Cooper was sentenced to death for his grandmother’s murder. Through the power of prayer and transformation, he moved from supporting her death sentence, to working to have it overturned, to dedicating his life to the abolition of the death penalty. This is the story of Bill’s journey, the obstacles he overcame, and the amazing, loving, forgiving, committed people he met on the way.
Bill Pelke is President and cofounder of the Journey of Hope...From Violence to Healing, a non-profit organization that is led by murder victim family members who oppose the death penalty. After initially supporting the sentence of death given to fifteen-year-old Paula Cooper for the murder of his grandmother, Bill went through a transformation. His journey led him on a successful international crusade to have her death penalty overturned. In1997, Bill retired from Bethlehem Steel with over thirty years of service, so he could devote his life to the Journey of Hope...From Violence to Healing and abolition of the death penalty.