A religious Christian, hard worker, and loving brother and son, Ivan Teleguz is an unlikely death row inmate.
As a young boy, Ivan fled with his family to the United States from the persecution they faced for their Christian beliefs. Ivan’s family comes from a small, rural town in Ukraine, a part of the former U.S.S.R., where the family was harassed and threatened by the Communist government because they were Christians. After trying for years to escape so that they could worship in freedom, the Teleguz family was finally able to reach the United States. They eventually settled in a small farming town called Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
Ivan’s foreman remembers him as the hardest worker he had ever employed, and as a plasterer who did beautiful and creative work. His little sister, the youngest of the family’s eleven children, remembers Ivan as a softhearted and caring big brother who went out of his way to help her find her lost cat, paid her to do small chores so she could have a little spending money as a child, and always made time to listen to her.
In prison, Ivan’s record has been exemplary, and he has been chosen as one of the few death row inmates allowed out of his cell to have a prison job. He spends most of the rest of his time in Bible study.