by Peter Galuszka
In 2015, Dale M. Brumfield, a veteran journalist and author, was finishing a masters degree in fine art in writing at Virginia Commonwealth University.
He learned of a prison inmate who escaped from Virginia to Florida, lived in a tent, and was caught after years of being on the lam.
“I got interested in talking to him for a story,” recalls Brumfield in his small office at his home in rural Hanover County.
The interview didn’t work out, but Brumfield says he got hooked on criminal justice and the death penalty. Not only did he write a book about the now-demolished Virginia State Penitentiary in Richmond, he became field director for Virginians Against the Death Penalty (VADP), an advocacy group that joined forces with other interested parties in abolishing capital punishment.
They were successful beyond their wildest dreams. In March of 2021, Virginia’s General Assembly voted to ban executions. It is the only state in the South to do so. “People had thought that this was far down the road. It caught everyone flat-footed,” he says. Continue reading