Love on Death Row

Not everyone hated Benetton’s death row ads.

Dagmar Polzin, a 32-year-old waitress from Hamburg, Germany, was so moved by one that appeared on a bus stop in her hometown that she quit her job and moved to North Carolina to be near its subject, Bobby Lee Harris, according to the Durham (N.C.) Herald-Sun. Now the two are petitioning to be married.

“I knew he wasn’t a killer. I could see it in the eyes,” Polzin says of Harris, 34, who was convicted of first-degree murder in 1992 for killing a fisherman (a crime to which he has admitted).

Harris is scheduled to be executed on Jan. 19. His lawyers plan to appeal to North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley, who was sworn into office on Saturday, for clemency.

“We hold hands through the glass,” Polzin says. “We make the best of things. We are still hopeful. We feel that when you really love somebody, no glass, no people can destroy love.”

“I’m glad Mr. Benetton put me into it to try to do away with the death penalty,” Harris told the Herald-Sun last winter of the death row booklet created by Oliviero Toscani. “But I can think of a lot of other magazines I’d rather be in. I’m not proud of why I’m in this one.”