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Photo Bill Babbitt




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Bill Babbitt (with two T's)

It's 4am, December 21, 1980. Bill Babbitt believes his brother Manny--a decorated war veteran for his service at the Siege of Khe Sanh, the bloodiest battle of Viet Nam and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder--is responsible for the death of an elderly Sacramento woman, Leah Schendel. Bill contacts authorities who promise to get help for Manny's illness and not seek the death penalty for the crime. Manny is arrested December 22, 1980 and executed 19 years later, May 6, 1999, just 30 minutes past his 50th birthday.

A broken promise ...

Bill, an African American, never imagined that nineteen years later he’d be attending his brother’s execution by lethal injection as a result of placing trust in a system that supports State sanctioned killings. Bill contemplates suicide. He states, "If it wasn't for my wife Linda, holding my head above water during those dark days, I would have surely perished." Today, Bill is an active Board Member of Murder Victim's Families For Human Rights.

LCpl. Manny Babbitt, Marines, 3rd Division, 26th Regiment, 18 years old.

Photo on rollover: Manny before arrest & execution.