Segments in this Video

History of Capital Punishment (03:18)


Thirty-eight states chose to reinstate the death penalty in the 1970s. Men on death row talk about how views have changed.

Rejecting Legal Efforts to Live (03:26)

Mario Marquez is scheduled to be the 87th man to die since the capital punishment was reinstated in Texas. There are currently 450 men on death row. Stays of execution are rare.

Preparing for Death (02:15)

Death house is a prison within a prison. Mario Marquez talks about his routine. A fellow inmate talks about the system.

Dealing with Death (04:25)

The chaplain at Huntsville prison talks about spending time with condemned inmates before and during execution.

Death House Process (03:13)

Mario Marquez is at the death house a few days before his scheduled execution. Employees work professionally and without emotion.

Execution Room (02:20)

Mario Marquez talks about the crime that sent him to death row. He was convicted of raping and killing the niece of his estranged wife. Her family members want to watch him dies.

Reprieve Denied (04:23)

A lawyer was not able to get Mario Marquez a stay of execution. He involved the media in his plea to the governor.

Hours Before Execution (02:18)

Marquez receives a call with the news that his execution will go through as scheduled. Mario Marquez ate his last meal at the death house. There 3,500 people on death row in the U.S.

Opinions on Capital Punishment (02:58)

Protesters and sightseers gather outside the prison in the hours before Mario Marquez's execution. Witnesses arrive minutes before the execution.

The Execution (02:03)

Witnesses stand in an observation room while Mario Marquez is put to death. The mentally retarded man's final words can be heard through a microphone.

Reflections on Witnessing Capital Punishment (03:10)

Mario Marquez's attorney talks about the execution. He was touched by the mentally retarded man's final moments.

Perspective on Capital Punishment (01:48)

The Huntsville prison chaplain reflects on the execution of Mario Marquez.

Diminishing Media Coverage (02:02)

Public support for capital punishment has grown. Executions rarely make the news.

Community Opinions on Execution (03:08)

Huntsville locals support capital punishment. Defense lawyers have been able to prove that 75 people on death row have been wrongfully convicted.

Credits: Witness to Execution: Capital Punishment (00:10)

Credits: Witness to Execution: Capital Punishment

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Witness to Execution: Capital Punishment

DVD Price: $149.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $149.95



In an era when no other industrialized Western nation enforces a death penalty, America has executed an average of 39 convicts per year over the past decade. Is it a just punishment? Is it even a deterrent? In this Emmy Award-winning program, ABC News anchor Ted Koppel seeks to understand the paradoxical nature of the death penalty—not in theory, but in practice, as he follows Mario Marquez from Death Row to his execution, along with Marquez’ attorney and the prison chaplain. "As we left the death house on the way back to our own lives, there was absolute silence. If I had been expecting a moment of revelation, it did not come," said Mr. Koppel. (44 minutes)

Length: 44 minutes

Item#: BVL9263

ISBN: 978-1-4213-1724-3

Copyright date: ©1998

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

Emmy Award, Outstanding Investigative Journalism

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.