Dead Man Walking

by: Sister Helen Prejean

Vernon Harvey

Characters Vernon Harvey

Vernon Harvey is the stepfather of Faith Hathaway, the teenage girl who was raped and murdered by Robert Willie and Joe Vaccaro. Before she introduces Vernon in the book, Prejean recounts the interviews he has granted saying he cannot wait to see Robert Willie executed for his crime. Vernon’s rage and grief have made him a vocal supporter of the death penalty, but he is also a compassionate and considerate man. From the first moment he encounters Prejean, he is willing to listen to her side of the debate, regardless of how much he disagrees with her. His position on capital punishment is unshakeable, but he respects the right of others to fight for what they believe in. After Faith’s murder, Vernon relies on anger to help him move beyond his grief. Every time he speaks of his stepdaughter’s murder, he is overcome with emotions that have not been healed by time or by Robert Willie’s execution.