FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A small group of Catholic nuns dedicated to eliminating the death penalty is working to spare the life of a man convicted of kidnapping and killing a University of North Dakota student.

The Congregation of St. Joseph is an order of about a dozen nuns in Crookston, Minnesota, which is the hometown of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.

Rodriguez is on death row at a federal prison for the 2003 killing of Dru Sjodin, of Pequot Lakes, Minnesota.

Sister Pat Murphy syas she has never talked publicly about the death penalty and realizes her opinion is unpopular, even within her own family.

Murphy has written letters to U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson, who sentenced Rodriguez to death. Erickson's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.