"On Monday, Nov. 10, 2003, at 6:30 p.m., a memorial service was held at Grace AME Zion Church, 219 S. Brevard Street in Charlotte, in honor of Isabella Daniels Crawford. The service celebrated Ms. Crawford's powerful legacy of compassion, forgiveness and religious devotion, and sought to protect this legacy from being tarnished by the execution of John Dennis Daniels, set for Friday, Nov. 14, 2003.
"The scheduled execution of John Daniels for the killing of Isabella Crawford, his aunt, cuts against all that Ms. Crawford lived by and taught others, and is an event her family firmly believes she would oppose. Eight of the nine grandchildren do not wish for the execution of John Daniels to be carried out; all agree that Isabella Crawford would not wish for the execution to take place.
"The family's spokesperson, Ms. Crawford's granddaughter, Yvonne Nelson-Moore, said: 'Of all the different people voicing what should or should not happen to John Daniels, my grandmother's voice -- the voice of the victim -- should be the loudest. And she would say: No. I do not want this execution to happen.' Ms. Nelson-Moore notes she previously favored the death penalty for Mr. Daniels, but has since adopted the view of her grandmother: 'We are here because of what our grandmother taught us, and she taught us about forgiveness. She lived the New Testament and believed that capital punishment was not the answer.'
"The murder of Isabella Daniels Crawford was unspeakably tragic for her family, but it is in the spirit of her legacy that her next-of-kin now seek to communicate their sentiments about the indelible impression Ms. Crawford left on her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the extensive church and community families who were so important to her life. One of those family members was John Dennis Daniels. He was a nephew that Ms. Crawford in life loved, protected and counseled in the face of alcoholism, substance abuse, and mental illness. Ms. Crawford's family knows with certainty that the planned execution of Mr. Daniels is something their grandmother would not have wanted, and, moreover, would greatly tarnish the important values Isabella Crawford lived for and believed in.
"Isabella Crawford was an extraordinary woman, committed to improving the lives of others, both in her family and her community.. This is the legacy of Isabella Crawford that her family seeks to protect, one characterized by generosity, forgiveness rather than retribution, and faith in the power of redemption.
"Ms. Crawford's family intends to express to Gov. Easley that the State of North Carolina should not execute John Daniels in Ms. Crawford's name but, rather, should treat him as would Ms. Crawford herself: with compassion and mercy.
"Isabella Crawford was a woman who, as the Charlotte Observer once noted: 'lived for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, her church and her volunteer work.' Consequently, not only has her immediate family deeply mourned her absence, but the community at large has also felt her loss, including her neighbors, her congregation of Grace AME Zion Church, and the clients served by the First United Methodist Church Senior Meal Program, where she volunteered every Tuesday. Her contributions to her community were immeasurable -- she was a treasurer of the Sunday school, chaired the Willing Workers group, chaired the Deaconesses board, and was a member of both the Home Mission and Christian Education boards. She was well respected and renowned for her unwavering commitment to the community at large, particularly to those less fortunate than herself."