About Us

Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the use of the death penalty in the state of Missouri.

Contact us

Staci Pratt – Executive Director
Esmie Tseng – Administrative Assistant
6320 Brookside Plaza, #185, Kansas City MO 64113

Meet our Board

Rita Linhardt is chair of the board and a lobbyist for the Missouri Catholic Conference. She has successfully lobbied for legislation to prevent the execution of persons with developmental disabilities. She opposes the death penalty because it violates Catholic teaching on the sanctity
of human life and promotes violence as a solution to society’s problems. She has been on numerous talk shows and panels speaking against the death penalty.
Cyndy Short graduated from Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers’ College in 1994.  Since 1997, she has been a TLC faculty member and trains lawyers and judges around the country. She has been a capital trial lawyer and has worked on death penalty cases since 1994.
Denise Carpenter is secretary of the board and a geriatric and medical social worker by training and experience. Her opposition to the death penalty is lifelong.
Rob Schaeffer is a Certified Public Accountant from Springfield. He also obtained a law degree from the University of Missouri.  He has been the
Treasurer of MADP since its incorporation as a statewide organization in 2005. Rob’s commitment to the abolition of the death penalty is grounded in a single and simple belief – that the work of the soul and the grace of God is not to be lightly toyed with.
Rev. Dr. Cathleen Burnett is Professor Emerita at the University of Missouri – Kansas City.  She is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church and serves as Associate Director of the Hermitage Spiritual Retreat Center. Her 2002 book, Justice Denied: Clemency Appeals in Death Penalty Cases, is about the first 50 Missouri executions. In 1996 she witnessed Missouri’s execution of her friend, Jeff Sloan. She believes it is always wrong to kill and even more so when the criminal justice system is so broken.
Nimrod “Rod” Chapel, Jr. is the founder and owner of The Chapel Law Group, President of the Missouri State NAACP Conference, and life member and President of the Jefferson City, Missouri NAACP. Rod also served as General Counsel/Director of Legal Services for the Missouri Department of Revenue. Prior to returning to the State of Missouri, he worked in Kansas City as a trial lawyer and was active in area bar associations and the community. Rod believes strongly in community service, serving on a number of other boards including the YMCA, Boy Scouts of America, MADP, Protect Your Right to Vote, Rotary, and Missouri Kids First, and Rotary. Abolition is an NAACP
game-changer on the national level – Rod has prioritized abolition at the Missouri State Conference.
Rev. Dr. Cassandra Gould is the Senior Pastor of Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church in Jefferson City and Executive Director of Missouri Faith Voices. She also serves as the Faith Co-Chair for Jobs with Justice and the Religious Affairs Director for the NAACP. Dr. Gould believes her call is best articulated by the scripture Jesus quoted from Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” (Luke 4:18) She feels serving on the MADP board provides an opportunity to proclaim freedom from death for those whom humanity has decided are not worth living and to illuminate the racial biases in the “justice” system.
Edna “Hedy” Harden founded Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE), a prison reform organization with chapters in most states and around the world, in 1990 and continues to serve as the Missouri chair. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri – St. Louis. CURE is opposed to the death penalty as well as all long-term and mandatory minimum sentences. CURE believes prisons should be only for those who must be incarcerated, should exist only for the purposes of education and rehabilitation, and should provide prisoners the resources to turn their lives around.
Jude Huntz is a pastoral associate at a Catholic parish in Kansas City, as well as an adjunct professor of Philosophy at Metropolitan Community College and DeVry University. He has been on the MADP board in the past and recently joined again.
Fr. W. Paul Jones is a retired professor of philosophical theology, a Catholic priest, a Family Brother of Assumption Abbey (Trappist) monk, a writer, and Resident Director of the Hermitage Spiritual Retreat Center in Pittsburg, Missouri. He has previously taught at Yale, Princeton, and Saint Paul School of Theology. Paul has been involved with MADP almost since its inception and regards it to be the best vehicle in Missouri for achieving the abolition of the death penalty.
Dr. Wiley Miller is a psychologist in private practice in Columbia, Missouri, and a retired adjunct faculty member at the University of Missouri. Wiley represents the Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation for the MADP Board and represents the Columbia Chapter of MADP.
Dr. Margaret Phillips has served on the Board as well as the St. Louis chapter since 1989.  Margaret recently retired from teaching Latin, Greek, and Greek civilization at University of Missouri-St. Louis. Beginning with the anti-Vietnam War protests and civil rights demonstrations in the ‘60s, Margaret moved into crime/punishment issues. She has served on the Board as well leading the St. Louis chapter since 1989.
Edward “Bob” Ronan represents the Kansas City chapter of MADP. He worked at Westinghouse for 28 years before retiring early. He then completed his Ph.D. and taught engineering at University of Missouri-Kansas City until 2006. While living in Jefferson City, Bob was in a Catholic group that visited inmates at the maximum security prison. He made many friends there, including some with death sentences – a couple of them were executed.
Zenobia Thompson is a retired nurse who has been active in social justice causes for over 30 years. In addition to her involvement with MADP, she is part of Jobs with Justice, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Organization for Black Struggle, and more.
Donna Walmsley has a background in Sociology and Theology and taught at Springfield Catholic High School for several years. She is MADP’s Springfield Chapter Leader.
Gabino Zavala is the Justice and Peace Director of the Kansas City Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. The Precious Blood Missionaries have taken a corporate stance against the death penalty, believing that all life is sacred.

Meet our Staff

Staci Pratt, Executive Director

Esmie Tseng, Executive Administrative Assistant

Christina Cowart, Social Work and Mental Health Intern

Evan Bolton, Fundraising and Prospecting Intern

Kate Siska, Special Projects Coordinator