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Robert Willie is Helen Prejean’s second death row correspondent. He
has been sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Faith Hathaway.
Although Robert claims he did not stab her, his role in the murder
remains uncertain. He is a complicated and mixed figure, at once
contrite and defiant. Unlike Patrick, Robert knows his execution
is inevitable and approaches it with false bravado. Robert has been
an outlaw since he was fourteen, constantly in and out of jail.
Prison has been a second home for him, perhaps more real than the
one in which he grew up. In the days leading up to his execution, he
gives interviews in which he expresses admiration for Hitler and Castro
and touts the supremacy of the Aryan race. Like his steely determination,
the interviews play up Robert’s constructed image of himself as
a rebel and outlaw. Robert implicitly acknowledges the falsity of
his act when he says he regrets the remarks he made to the press
and expresses a desire to die peacefully. Robert opens himself up
to Prejean’s love, believing that he has accepted the truth and
that it will set him free. Robert does not protest or fight during
his last moments of life but instead talks lovingly with his family.
Just before he is executed, he says he hopes his death will bring
peace to the parents of the woman he helped kill.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Dead Man Walking!