The letter they sent to President Napolitano came from a convicted mobster, Carmelo Musumeci, a 52-year-old who has been in prison for 17 years.
It was co-signed by 310 of his fellow lifers.
Musumeci said he was tired of dying a little bit every day.
We want to die just once, he said, and "we are asking for our life sentence to be changed to a death sentence".
It was a candid letter written by a man who, from within his cell, has tried hard to change his life.
He has passed his high school exams and now has a degree in law. But his sentence, he says, has transformed the light into shadows.
He told the president his future was the same as his past, killing the present and removing every hope.
May 31, 2007
Unlikely death penalty proponents
Prisoners in Italy serving life sentences.