Monday, August 28, 2006

Hi everyone, thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers for Sammy and his family. I am still deciding what I will do with this site now, but I did want to post a few articles that have been in the Winston-Salem Journal recently. I also would like to invite everyone to send your favorite thoughts and memories of Sammy to so I can compile them for Sammy's family. The response to our plea for Sammy's life was astounding, and I know his family would appreciate all of your comments. I'll post soon and thanks again!

Feelings about death penalty change when it gets personal

By John Railey
Journal Columnist

John Railey
Delores Yokely was at home praying for Sammy Flippen to be spared - even as his executioners pushed the needles into his arms on Aug. 18.

It was all part of a fight she thought she'd never be involved in. But then, who ever thinks they're going to get involved in a death-penalty case?

We might read a little bit about one in the paper or catch a bit about one on TV, but that's about it. Still, despite knowing neither victims nor killers, it's easy to take one side or the other, to be either for the death penalty or against it.

But maybe you're one of the relative few whose buddy or kin got murdered, and that's hardened your support for capital punishment.

Or maybe, like Yokely, you're one of the relative few who knew someone who got the death penalty. And your friendship with this person whom prosecutors and cops vilified leaves you forever changed - including what had been your unwavering support for the death penalty.

"We form opinions sometimes based on situations where our convictions haven't been tested," said Yokely, who is 73. "This time, it was. It was put to a test, knowing him."

Yokely and several others, including some of her fellow members of Gospel Light Baptist Church in Walkertown, fought in vain for the life of Flippen. He grew up in Gospel Light. It's a conservative church, one in which many, if not most, members support the death penalty.

Some church members didn't join in the fight for Flippen. But those who did, like Yokely, may be changed by that fight.

Make no mistake about it: Flippen committed a horrible crime in 1994. He hit his stepdaughter, Britnie Nichol Hutton, so hard that her liver and pancreas were torn. His lame story was that she was injured falling out of a chair.

Yokely, a former principal of Gospel Light Christian School, heard all that in court, and ached for Britnie and her family. But she didn't see a killer in Flippen. She saw the playful boy she'd watched grow up in the Christian school. She saw the man who'd later write her a letter of thanks for her support.

Others saw a good side to Flippen as well. "There were a lot of people hurt about him being put to death who I think had supported the death penalty," Yokely said. "He'd been such a good kid and this was such a freak thing that happened. And their hearts went out to his parents."

Yokely doesn't say Flippen's not guilty. "I'm just saying that whatever happened was totally out of character for Sammy," she said. And she rightly wonders why this case resulted in the death penalty, and those of people "equally guilty" haven't.

"I've lost a lot of faith in the justice system through this," she said. "It's just the inconsistency ... I won't say I'm anti-death penalty now, but I'll say I'm very cautious. I just want them to make sure that it's a hardened criminal, premeditated."

This may not be her last fight against the death penalty. "If it's somebody I can help or feel like I can be a friend to or know anything about, I'd certainly be willing, if they deserve to be helped," she said.

Agree or disagree with Delores Yokely in her questioning of capital punishment.

But know this: She's had a head-on collision with an issue that most of us have the luxury of considering only in the abstract.

And she'll never be the same.

• John Railey writes local editorials for the Journal. He can be reached at

Right to Life

On Aug. 18, the state of North Carolina killed Samuel Flippen for the murder of Britnie Hutton ("Local man put to death," Aug. 19). Substitute the euphemism "executed;" the net effect is the same. Our founders noted in the Declaration of Independence that every person is endowed with the unalienable God-given right to life, yet the death penalty contradicts this. As a country, we espouse the sanctity of human life, yet demote those on death row to sub-human status by dispassionately killing them with calculation and forethought.

What do we gain as a society? Are we safer now than we were two weeks ago when Flippen was just locked up? Are we nobler for our complicity with the state in this killing? Samuel Flippen is no longer among us - no longer does the potential for the fulfillment of that one unique creation exist. Was he not worthy of our every effort to rehabilitate? Could we not salvage one human being from the tragedy of Britnie Hutton's death?

As long as we empower the state in the enforcement of the death penalty, we are accountable, each and every one of us, for the destruction of human life.



Saturday, August 19, 2006

In lieu of a memorial service, Sammy's family will be holding a visitation on Sunday, August 20th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Please email or call 336-577-1043 for more information.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

These directions bring you into Raleigh via Greensboro, and Durham.

Here are directions to Central Prison to Raleigh via Greensboro, and Durham.

Take I-40 East toward Raleigh.
Take the Wade Ave Exit.
Take the I-440 S Ramp
Take Western Blvd, exit 2A
Travel a couple of miles and the Prison will be on your left.

Vigil goers often park on Dorothea Drive. You can reach this road by driving past Central Prison on Western Blvd and taking the next left on S. Boylan. Take an immediate left on Dorothea. The road takes a sharp right. Park as near that turn as you can, but avoid blocking driveways and be sure to leave room for passing traffic. At that bend in the road is a greenway path. Walk along the path back up to Western Blvd were you will see the vigilers gathered.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hi everyone! I saw Sammy today and he told me to tell everyone that he has not given up hope and he is grateful for all of the prayers and support that people have offered. I also wanted to say what a wonderful job you guys are doing! Keep praying and remembering Momma D's words, 'Be still and know that I am God...Clemency!'

If you are able, please join me tomorrow night (August 17th) for a prayer service at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church at 7:30pm. Pullen Church is located at 1801 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh. After the service, participants will process with candlelight to Central Prison for a vigil that is expected to last until about 2:30 a.m. However, participants are welcome to come and go as needed.

The LAST CHANCE to sign Sammy's online petition will be tonight. Tomorrow at 10:00am we will be printing it and sending it to the governor. Please SPREAD THE WORD AND HAVE AS MANY PEOPLE SIGN IT AS POSSIBLE!!!!

Also, please continue to call the Governor and make as many contacts to news, newspapers, radio, legislators, etc...

And finally, pray like you've never prayed before...It's now or never!

Thank you all for all your love, support and prayers!!! Sammy, myself, and his family needs it!!!
Thanks for all your HARD work, but DON'T STOP YET!!!! WE STILL HAVE TIME!!!!

Jill Wilkes

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Click here to see the WXII 12 News Interview with John Hutton and Judy Hutton, Britnie's biological father and grandmother.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Click here to see an Associated Press article about the hearing today!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

O.K., Everyone!!! This is our last week to convince the Governor to grant Clemency for Sammy!!! WE ALL MUST TAKE ACTION!!!! Below is a list of one thing the we all can do each day, even if we have already done it! We need to flood these people with calls and letters each day. I will make one suggestion to combine #4 and #5 to be done on Thursday!!! Friday will be too late! And maybe repeat # 1 on Thursday, too! It can't hurt! Please forward this to as many people as possible and call as many people as possible. Print this e-mail and give it to those who don't have or use computers! KEEP UP THE FAIH and remember Momma D's words...'Be Still and KNOW that I AM God', CLEMENCY! God can do this! Pray for a miracle and that God's Will be done! Thank you all for everything.
Thank you all,


P.S. Don't forget about the Prayer Vigil for Sammy Thursday Night at 9pm outside Central Prison in Raleigh. Please try to be there!

From People of Faith Against the Death Penalty
August 11, 2006

Five Minutes for Five Days:
Take Action on the Death Penalty

You have more power than you think.

Please use your power at this moment—as North Carolina
is about to execute Sammy Flippen on August 18—to
begin dialogues in your community and with those who
maintain our death penalty system.

Take action for just five minutes every day during the
week during your lunch break.

1. Call the Governor Day
Monday, August 14, 2006
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Please contact Gov. Mike Easley.

Tel: 1-800-662-7952 (North Carolina only) or (919)

If you call, simply say you support clemency for
Samuel Flippen; do not discuss the case. They are only
tallying the calls.

Email: or through

Fax: (919) 733-2120 or 715-3175

2. Call Your Legislators Day
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Contact your lawmakers. Chances are they do not know
about this case. To find out who represents you,

Telephone (1) your state representative and (2) your
state senator and ask to meet with them for five
minutes this week. Or, at least, ask if they can share
five minutes with you on the phone to discuss
something urgent. (No matter what, respect your time

Share with them your concerns about how Sammy
Flippen’s case shows the unfairness and
disproportionality of the death penalty. Ask them: Do
you believe a person should be executed if there is
credible, documented evidence that his case is less
severe or similar to other cases where the death
penalty was not imposed, such the cases in Charlotte
and Orange County this week? (See below.) And ask them
to contact the governor for clemency.

No matter what, be friendly and be brief—no more than
five minutes. But let your legislators know that you
would like to continue the conversation later on.
Build relationships with your legislators. Let PFADP
know how your conversations went.


Why Sammy Flippen’s Death Sentence Is Unfair

The actions of the prosecutor in Sammy Flippen’s case
show that the death penalty is disproportionate. Prior
to Mr. Flippen’s retrial, the state offered to permit
Mr. Flippen to plead guilty to second degree murder.
When Mr. Flippen declined this offer, the state sought
the death penalty. Were this case to happen today, it
is extremely unlikely that Mr. Flippen would face
execution. In 2001, the General Assembly changed the
law, giving prosecutors the discretion not to seek the
death penalty in a first degree murder case. Since
2001, numerous cases involving tragic murders of
children have been declared noncapital and the
offenders sentenced to life. Just in the last two
weeks, a man in Charlotte pled guilty to stabbing his
two daughters to death. David Crespi was sentenced to
life imprisonment. Meanwhile, in Orange County, the
prosecutor announced he would not seek the death
penalty for Jamie Wilson. Ms. Wilson has been charged
with the first degree murder of her goddaughter who
died of injuries suffered when she was placed in
scalding hot bathwater.

The governor has the power to ensure that the death
penalty is applied evenhandly and not in a haphazard
and arbitrary fashion. By commuting Sam Flippen’s
death sentence to life imprisonment, the governor can
help restore public confidence in the fairness of our
justice system. Your legislators must also decide how
they are going to deal with this deeply flawed system.

For more information on Sammy visit and

(This section is based on information provided by
Samuel Flippen’s legal team.)


3. Contact Your District Attorney Day
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Chances are your district attorney rarely if ever
hears from constituents opposing the death penalty. We
need to change that. Follow the steps you followed
with your legislator.

Build a relationship with your DA. Ask them to support
if not a repeal of the death penalty, then a
moratorium on executions and reforms of the death
penalty system,

Please let PFADP know how your conversations went.

4. Call Your Radio Station Day
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Call during live broadcast hours.

Call up your local talk radio shows—even if you think
your views will be challenged.

For contact information on talk radio stations across
the state, go to our Website.

Be brief and be brave. You might be surprised, if you
call a conservative show, at the level of agreement
with you. Share your concerns about the
disproportionality of Sammy Flippen’s death sentence,
and your other concerns about the death penalty.
Mention your concern for Britnie Hutton and her
family, that this execution will not bring the family
the closure and healing they need. Suggest that either
North Carolina repeal the death penalty or in the
least halt executions to allow for a comprehensive
review and reform of the death penalty system to make
it less unjust and less likely to condemn innocent
people to death.

5. Write Your Newspaper Day
Friday, August 18, 2006

For contact info on many newspapers in North Carolina,

Sample letter if Sammy is killed:

Dear Editor,

Samuel Flippen was executed this morning by the people
of North Carolina.

No one claimed Samuel Flippen was among the worst of
the worst. Ninety-nine percent of murder cases—even
those involving tragic murders of children—are not
death penalty cases. Flippen died because our system
of deciding who’s crime is worst is so prone to get it
wrong. Now another family is grieving. Are we any

It’s time to decide: Either the death penalty is too
immoral or impractical in this day and age and we
abolish it. Or at least we stop executions so that we
can comprehensively reform this system to make it less
unfair and less likely to condemn innocent people.

Sample letter if Sammy if granted clemency:

Dear Editor,

Congratulations to Gov. Mike Easley for his decision
to grant clemency to Samuel Flippen.

If we are going to have a death penalty, then let us
recognize, as Gov. Easley has, that death sentences
must be applied fairly and in proportion to other
crimes. Samuel Flippen does not deserve to die.

Now let’s start asking questions about the problems in
the system that put him on death row in the first

Please Also Remember…

Throughout this time, please pray for Sammy Flippen
and for his mother and father and all of his family
and friends who love him. Pray for Britnie Hutton and
her family and for all victims of violence.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Independent Weekly Article about Sammy

This article by Bob Geary of the Independent Weekly was published in the August 9th paper. He has posted that article as well as some other comments on his blog. Click here to see it!

There will be a Prayer Vigil for Sammy this coming Saturday evening (August 12) at 7pm at Gospel Light Baptist Church in Walkertown, NC. Please come to pray and support Sammy, Rita and Russell, and all Sammy's friends and family! I have a lot planned for this night and I think everyone will leave feeling uplifted. Please email for more information. You can get directions by clicking on the Gospel Light link on the right. We hope to see you Saturday!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sammy is in the news! Recently there have been several articles covering Sammy's case. We are grateful for ALL of the media coverage, both positive and negative, because it gets people thinking and talking about Sammy's case. Please continue passing on Sammy's story and referring people to this website. Thank you all so much for your support!

Winston-Salem Journal article about the Clemency hearing

Greensboro Column about discrepancies in death penalty cases

Winston-Salem Journal article about the Rally

NC Policy Watch article

Raleigh News & Observer article mentioning Sammy's case
A Picture
One innocent, lonely, scared young man,
With only a pen, and paper in hand.
Questions are bountiful inside his mind,
as he sits there doing time.

Time is his friend, and his enemy too.
Yet he is no different than me or you.
He hurts inside, although it doesn't show.
As feelings of fear continue to grow.

He loves and is loved by family and friends.
Yes, he hurts for himself, but more for them.
For they too are victims, of a system gone bad,
And as strong as they are, still sometimes they're sad.

It helps him to know that he is not alone.
What helps even more is that God is still on the throne.
God is the one who puts the wind in our sail,
And we know in the end, He will prevail.

As one of his children, i'm never alone.
I know for sure that someday soon,
"I'll be coming home."

Written by Sammy Flippen

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wow! What a great turn out for the Rally Monday evening! I really feel that we had a great response and Sammy would be happy to know that so many people love and care about him. I have forwarded everyone's letters of support to Sammy. See the Rally page for more pictures and some of the powerful words that were spoken that night. Thank you again!

Also, there will be a group heading down to rally during Sammy's Clemency hearing tomorrow, Thursday, August 3rd at 2pm. If you are interested in attending, please let me know ASAP!


Jill Wilkes

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I have created a new link that lists all of the great comments we've been receiving from Sammy's supporters. Check the new page out here or click the link on the right. Please keep sending in the great comments!
THANK YOU to everyone who attended the rally last night! We had close to 70 people in attendance and it was a powerful evening. Please stay tuned for other upcoming events in the next few weeks. This page will continue to be updated so please check back often! Also, pictures and other details from the rally last night will be posted on the rally page within the next few days. Thank you to everyone for showing your support for Sammy!
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