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Bill Pelke Tribute Podcast: His Life & Legacy (U.S.)-December 7, 2020

Today’s podcast is a tribute to our friend and colleague Bill Pelke who died on November 12 in Anchorage, Alaska from a massive heart attack. Bill was a victim of violent crime whose 78-year old grandmother, Ruth Pelke, was brutally murdered in Gary, Indiana in 1985 by a group of juvenile girls. During an attempted home robbery Paula Cooper stabbed Ruth Pelke 33 times. Bill at first supported the death penalty for Paula Cooper but later emphatically reversed that position and became a national and global champion in opposition to the death penalty.
Bill, and co-founder, George White founded The Journey of Hope–from Violence to Healing in the 1990’s. Journey of Hope – from Violence to Healing
Our guests today to pay tribute to Bill’s life and legacy include:
George White, co-founder of Journey of Hope. George is also a victim of violent crime and an exoneree. George is based in Virginia.
Pastor Jack Sullivan Jr.: ex. Director of the Ohio Council of Churches and a victim of violent crime. Jack sits on RJI’s Global Advisory Council. Jack is based in Ohio.
Abraham J. Bonowitz: Director, Death Penalty Action and long- time colleague of Bill’s. Abe is based in Ohio. Home – Death Penalty Action

RJI President Lisa Rea’s tribute to Bill Pelke:
The Passing of Bill Pelke: (U.S.)-November 12, 2020 | RJI (
(photo: from left to right- George & Bill at Reagan National Airport, Arlington, Virginia 2016)