Manuel Valle, who was executed by the State of Florida last month, declined to make a last statement. But he did have some last words after all. Days after his execution, a letter from Valle landed on the desk of Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski. It was dated September 23, five days before the execution.
In it, Valle wrote that “I am well, at peace and prepared for whatever God’s wil has in store for me within the next week.” He went on to say “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and thoughtfulness through this difficult ordeal. And although your thoughtfulness and attempts to save my life may end up falling short of their intended purpose, they should encourage many others to take notice and hopefully become more involved in the future. If that occurs, I will feel that my death will not be in vain.” The Archbishop was one of several members of the Catholic clergy who urged the state and Gov. Rick Scott to commute Valle’s sentence to life in prison.
The letter, which you can read in its entirety here, drew scorn from the family members of Officer Pena. Jeff Frau, Pena’s brother told the Sun Sentinel, “As far as I’m concerned, he has no remorse. He doesn’t care what he’s done to our family. He only cares about himself. Our lives have been destroyed forever.”
Wenski said he was stunned to receive the letter and that it was “touching.” See more of Wenski’s response in this video from CBS Miami. “He could have remained alive in prison without the possibility of parole and not threatened society,” Wenski said. “Do we really make a statement that killing is wrong by killing somebody?”
You can read more about the letter and Wenski’s response in this article from the Miami Herald.