Dead Man Walking

by: Sister Helen Prejean

Elmo Patrick Sonnier

Characters Elmo Patrick Sonnier

Patrick is Helen Prejean’s first death row correspondent. He has been sentenced to death for the murder of two teenagers, a crime he committed with his brother Eddie. Patrick has been a model prisoner since his incarceration. He is desperate to talk to someone and eager for Prejean’s company. His small gestures of appreciation and gratitude toward Prejean are touching evidence of a man desperate for approval and love. Throughout Patrick’s poor and difficult childhood, love was a rare commodity. Patrick speaks fondly and lovingly of his mother and father, but he was independent from a very young age and has spent much of his life alone. He finds love in prison for the first time in his life when Prejean and her friends show genuine affection for him. Although he is put to death for a crime he didn’t commit (Eddie was the one who killed the teenagers), the experience of love transforms him and allows him to die with dignity. He feels real remorse for his role in the crime, and his last words are an apology to Lloyd LeBlanc, the father of one of the murdered teenagers.