NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On the eve of Oscar Smith’s execution, one death row opponent is calling on the state’s highest leader to intervene.
Dan Mann has a special heart for death row inmates and visits Riverbend Maximum Security Institution regularly.
“I don’t believe that anybody’s life is more valuable than another. I believe that we’re all made in the image of God, we are created in his image,” Mann said.
Over the last 12 years, Mann has come to know Smith and considers him a friend.
“Some of the guys out there, they want to joke, they want to laugh. Oscar’s fairly serious but he is interested in everything that’s going on, everything that’s going on outside the prison. I mean he’s very curious,” Mann described.
The last several months have been an emotional roller coaster for Smith. His lawyers tried to reopen his case with new DNA evidence, but that petition was denied.
“He was very hopeful until last week. And so he was a little surprised, a little frustrated and that’s to be expected but he was very hopeful,” Mann said.
Wednesday evening, Mann called on Governor Bill Lee to spare Smith’s life.
“He is responsible, by Tennessee State Constitution, to have the last say on whether or not these men will be executed,” Mann said. “What would I tell the governor tonight? I would beg him to show mercy. The Gospel says blessed are those who are merciful for they shall see mercy. When we look at our lives what more do we want than mercy from others? Kindness, gentleness.”
On Thursday, Mann plans to hold a vigil outside of Riverbend starting at 6 p.m. He said the public is welcome to attend.
“We will be praying for the victims, for the victim’s families, we’ll be praying for the governor, we’ll be praying for the corrections officers and we’ll be praying for the repose of Oscar’s soul,” Mann said.