Killing You’s the Right Thing to Do

Killing You’s the Right Thing to Do

Scott Lehr, no prior record, convicted murderer and rapist from Phoenix Arizona.
Scott Lehr, no prior record, convicted multiple murderer and rapist from Phoenix Arizona.

 

Why the death penalty is required in America

By Amanda Chen (The People’s Republic of China)

I read this article which I saw posted on a facebook page by an adamant supporter of the Death Penalty in America. The article was really a compilation of criminals who had murdered, been incarcerated and eventually released, only to murder again.

EnforceDPI was taken aback by this seemingly strong argument and I thought I should re-visit my position on the matter. So I researched and investigated the facts of the cases and I wanted to share what I found and how it changed my perception of the use of the death penalty and executions in the United States.

The numbered examples, given as reasons why executions are needed form the basis of the article / compilation.

 1. “John McRae — Michigan/Florida. Life for murder of 8-year-old boy. Pedophile. Paroled 1971. Convicted of 1965 another murder of a boy after parole, in Michigan 1998.”

John McRae was convicted at age 16 in Michigan for the murder of an 8 year-old boy. He was sentenced to life in prison. He served 20 years for the murder. His life sentence was commuted in 1971 by then Governor William Milliken at the recommendation of the state parole board.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.obituaries/qg3ztdxwP6o

That’s completely appropriate. You do not sentence a sixteen year-old to death for murder. That’s true even today. The murder was committed in 1951, when the very high recidivism of child molesters was much less understood. It is also very well known that victims of molestation, physical abuse, and childhood sexual abuse are far more likely to become the perpetrators of sexual abuse than the general population,

china_death_penaltyMcRae was convicted in 1998 of killing another young boy. The State of Florida violated McRae’s rights as McRae was denied a lawyer when he confessed to the crime. The Florida State Supreme Court overturned the conviction. The State of Florida appealed this to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the State Supreme Court ruling. The State of Florida then re-tried McRae, this time not using his confession.

This perennial problem of confessions being illegally obtained under conditions of duress, force, and intimidation, can be addressed by performing thorough investigations and making sure that the facts of the case and the evidence match up tightly with the confession. Some States even require a trial even if the defendant has pleaded guilty and given a confession for just this reason.

In this case, nothing was done wrong on the part of the state of Michigan in light of what was then known about child molestation / pedophilia. The only one at fault here is the state of Florida, for obtaining a confession illegally and violating the Constitutional rights of the accused.

2. “John Miller — California. Killed an infant 1957, convicted of murder, 1958. Paroled 1975. Killed his parents 1975”

Miller was a juvenile delinquent who went to the home of a family friend with burglary on his mind. He went to get money and guns from the home which he hoped was unoccupied. He found the family friend’s 22 month-old daughter completely unsupervised outside the home.

Who leaves a 22 month-old baby home alone? Miller smothered the baby and hid the body under several blankets in her crib. He was 15 years-old at the time and he served 18 years in prison.

Nothing different would happen in a case with similar facts today, and the death penalty would never be imposed on this first offense then or now.

What did the parents of the child have to say about the death penalty?

“The father of the murdered girl said: “We don’t want revenge. We just want to see him put behind bars for the rest of his life. He’s a sick soul.””

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thedailymirror/2007/11/toddler-slain.html#sthash.d2A9OAZi.dpuf

This child killer, who was a child himself, in all probability suffered abuse and possibly sexual abuse by a neglectful, ignorant parent.  Intense therapy in concert with a prison sentence, education and a new direction in life would have served this child better than 18 years of simple incarceration.

John was tried as an adult and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. Deputy Dist. Atty. Ted Sten called him “vicious, treacherous and coldblooded. Here is a person devoid of feeling, an ill-tempered wild animal who wanted to kill someone to see how it felt.”

Deputy Dist. Atty. Allen Field said John told his probation officer that he couldn’t cope with the outside world after being released from prison. He said his parents had mistreated him and he blamed his father for being sent to prison in Laura’s death.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thedailymirror/2007/11/toddler-slain.html#sthash.d2A9OAZi.dpuf

Miller, irrationally or perhaps even rationally, blamed his father for his arrest and conviction for the death of the child. Two months after release on parole, Miller killed both his parents.

Miller would not have been sentenced to death under these facts back then or even today, and given the circumstances of his life, the death penalty is still not appropriate, in light of the failures of his parents and of society to at least attempt to address his tortured psychology.

3. “Charles Crawford — Missouri. Life term in for murder. Paroled 1990. Convicted of murder again in 1994.”

Charles Lee Crawford, charged as a second offender, was found guilty by a Laclede County Circuit Court jury of murder in the first degree. The court fixed the punishment at life imprisonment. On appeal to this court, the conviction was affirmed. State v. Crawford, Mo.

http://www.leagle.com/decision/19691068436SW2d632_11051

In this case, Charles Lee Crawford was found guilty of the 1st degree murder of Edward L. Pridemore on February 2, 1965, in Laclede County, Missouri (MO). There was no prior murder.

Crawford was sentenced to life in prison. His case was appealed to the MO State Supreme Court where it was upheld. Crawford is still in prison today, and is a threat to no one.

Charles Ray Crawford is on Mississippi's death row and scheduled for execution.
Charles Ray Crawford is on Mississippi’s death row and scheduled for execution.
Kristi Ray College student abducted, raped and murdered by Charles Ray Crawford.
Kristi Ray College student abducted, raped and murdered by Charles Ray Crawford.

Charles Ray Crawford of Mississippi (MS) 43, was sentenced to death in 1994 for the murder and rape of Northeast Mississippi Community College student Kristi Ray in rural TippahCounty.

In 1993, Charles Ray Crawford was out on bond awaiting trial on charges of aggravated assault and rape in 1993.  He had not committed a prior murder

Four days before his first trial, the 20-year-old Ray was abducted from her parents’ home in Chalybeate and Crawford was charged with her rape and murder.

These are two different people in two different states and their crimes are 30 years apart. The first case is a prime counter-argument to the original article which stated that “LWOP is not the answer when it comes to pure evil.”

This man committed murder, served 25 years and has not proven to be a further danger or harm to society.

1461252_557046384370990_1310799225_n bbIf any of the defendants discussed in the article were sentenced to LWOP for a first murder offense, they would never get out of prison to be able to commit a subsequent murder. So, even the title of the article is flawed. LWOP is the answer to pure evil, under the proper facts and circumstances.

Mississippi may soon be finished grappling with the higher courts and the Supreme Court, getting the go-ahead to executed Charles Ray Crawford. Will this bring finality, healing and closure to the family of Kristi Ray?  Not a chance, and they will be forever changed and forever mourning the murder of their family member.

4. Jack Ferrell — Florida. Committed Murder 1981. 15 years to life, 1982. Paroled 1987. Murdered again 1992.

Jack Dempsey
Jack Dempsey

The aptly named Jack Dempsey Ferrell (Jack Dempsey was a famous early 1900’s heavyweight prize-fighter) had his own unique way of knocking out his girlfriends and (permanently) resolving conflicts of the domestic nature.

“Jack Ferrell and Mary Williams lived together, and their relationship was marked by verbal and physical confrontations, including Ferrell threatening to kill Williams.”

“On April 18, 1992, neighbors overheard the couple arguing and observed Ferrell enter and exit the apartment several times.  When he left the apartment the final time, he told one of the neighbors that he had killed Williams and the cops should be called.  Ferrell then drove away in his car.”

Jack Dempsey Ferrell
Jack Dempsey Ferrell

“Williams was found on the apartment floor with two gunshot wounds to the head, and she died ten days later due to hemorrhaging in the brain.   At the time of Ferrell’s arrest, his breath smelled of alcohol, and he admitted to drinking heavily that day.”

“Ferrell was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment for Second-Degree Murder in 1982.  He was released in 1987.”

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/fl-supreme-court/1186038.html

Under the facts of this case, who in their right mind would release this convict back into society after just 5 years in prison? Clearly this man needed alcohol counseling and rehabilitation followed by intensive therapy for anger management and conflict resolution.

These could have been undertaken in concert with incarceration before finally undergoing intensive therapy to address the underlying causes for his alcohol abuse. These causes usually include poor parenting, an absentee parent, or no parent, psychiatric issues, and possible abuse and neglect as a child.

Instead, the State of Florida warehoused him for just 5 years in a “gladiator academy” where he must have learned more about hatred and the devaluation of human life, and then unleashed a new and improved alcoholic criminal to further prey on society.

Ferrell was released in 1987 under terms of parole. The parole term was most likely 5 years. At the end of that five year parole term, the untreated Jack Dempsey Ferrell’s future was entirely predictable

Under the influence of alcohol, Ferrell shot his girlfriend to death for “being a bitch”.

“Upon the defendant’s arrest, he stated that he had shot the victim and was glad he did and hoped she died.”

death-penalty-drugsHere, the State of Florida seems clearly at fault. The original idea propagated by so many psychologists and psychiatrists working in the prisons system in the 60’s and 70’s was that many criminals were victims of poor childhoods and limited opportunities prior to their crimes. Society had an opportunity to rehabilitate these criminals and help right the wrongs originally done to them.

This idea gave way in the 80’s and 90’s to the idea that criminals were “evil” and needed to be locked away from society. Locking prisoners away was costly and prisons were overcrowded, so they let them go far too soon.

Then along with private sector involvement in the prisons, the prison industry emerged, and prisons became a growth industry in America, employing many people, creating and augmenting many businesses, and becoming very profitable and politically influential.

Then came a paradigm shift where it was suddenly economically feasible and even politically preferable to lock people up for a much longer time. Problems with recidivism only fed that momentum. Truth in sentencing, toughness on crime, and mandatory minimums became the new norm.

So, while a death sentence for a severe alcoholic who shot his wife to death may have prevented the taking of another life, a longer sentence would have also saved one life. A combination of rehabilitation, counseling and therapy could have saved two lives, and early intervention could have saved all three.

http://www.law.fsu.edu/library/flsupct/81668/op-81668.pdf

5. Timothy Buss — Murdered five-year-old girl. Sentenced to 25 years in 1981. Paroled 1993. Murdered 10-year-old boy.

The victims of Timothy Buss
The victims of Timothy Buss

“Mika Moulton, the mother of 10-year-old murder victim Christopher Meyer, stood at the courtroom railing Friday and stared at Timothy Buss.

Tara_Sue_PicChristopher_Pic

“Burn in hell, Buss, burn in hell,” Moulton said quietly from the front row as Buss was led from the courtroom.”

Buss also had been convicted for the 1981 murder of 5-year-old Tara Sue Huffman and had served half of a 25-year sentence when he was paroled in 1993.

The defense had argued that Buss suffered from parental neglect and abuse as a youngster. His mother, Rose, left when he was 5 years old, and his father, David, who had custody of the four children, admitted he was a “terrible” father.

Mr. Jaquays, the defense attorney, said Buss never had a chance for a normal life. And he said a language-based learning disability and an attention deficit disorder were two reasons why Buss’ punishment should be less than death.

“Timothy Buss suffered from a defective mind,” Jaquays told the jury. “It was like building a house of cards. It was a matter of time before it collapsed. His problems were left undiagnosed and untreated.”

Jaquays asked several times for mercy for his client during his closing argument, and asked the jurors not to have revenge in their minds.

“It is always difficult to ask for mercy,” Jaquays said. “The voice of revenge and outrage is always louder. But it’s wrong. I ask that you not hesitate to base your decision on mercy.”

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1996-07-06/news/9607060051_1_penalty-timothy-buss-christopher-meyer

death-penalty-pros-and-cons4This is the case of a pedophile who killed a child, served time, was released and killed again. He served just twelve years for killing a child?  Now, the tenacious recidivism of child predators is better understood, and longer sentences are now given and more protections are sought against child molesters. It is also better understood what the most abundant cause is: prior physical and / or sexual abuse of the offender.

There are plenty of such cases, and professionals in the field continue to seek better solutions for controlling and treating criminals while protecting society from their horrible and monstrous acts.

Does the author or compiler of the article advocate putting a man to death for a senseless and terrible act he committed at the age of 13?

Evil is learned and vengeance is learned. Selfishness is learned and intolerance is learned.

Benevolence, mercy, and generosity are also learned and they’re enshrined in the bible. Ministering to and saving wayward, damaged and lost souls was Christ’s life’s work. His worldly ambition was not throwing damaged people to the wolves and praying they will burn in hell. That some people cannot or will not be saved is no reason not to try and take on the task.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-08-13/news/9508130235_1_timothy-buss-christopher-meyer-boy

6. Dwain Little — Oregon. Raped/Stabbed 16-year-old girl. Life term 1966. Paroled 1974. Returned as Parole Violator 1975. Again Released 1977. Then shot family of 4.

Murdrpedia

The article neglects to mention that Dwain Lee Little was just 17 years-old when he murdered 16 year-old Orla Fay Fipps.  He showed no remorse and his wise-guy attitude only subsided when he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He served just 8 years before being released on parole.

Here again, minors are more readily tried as adults these days, and Little received that treatment back then. Even now, under these facts, a 17 year-old is very unlikely to be sentenced to death.  If a case were tried now under the same facts, the defendant would serve a much longer sentence than 8 years.

Is the person who wrote the article really stating that LWOP is too good for a teenager who commits murder? They probably would not say that, if the defendant were his or her child.

Does this person feel that American society would be better served by executing a person who committed a terrible act as a teen?  Does that appease society for a senseless act of murder?

What does that say about a society that answers murder with murder?

imagesCAUCXK6F ltShould we try to act more like a reckless and remorseless perpetrator of murder, or should we show that we are more forgiving, more merciful, and more noble than a lost and disturbed adolescent or sociopath who takes a life, by trying to salvage a damaged life ?

Why does America have the most perpetrators of violent crime and by far the highest population of criminals? Is it just the freedom, the openness, and the permissiveness of the society, or is it embedded in the culture?

7. Chad Allen Lee — Convicted of capital murder. Sentenced to other than death. Released and went on murder spree. Murdering Linda Reynolds, a pizza delivery person, and 9 days later robbed and murdered David Lacey, a taxi cab driver. Lee then robbed a mini-market 7 days after than. Shooting the owner, Harold Drury, multiple times without reason.

Murderpedia. Juvenile records sealed.

Chad Lee was 20 years-old at the time of his second and third murders. The records from his first murder were sealed and must have been in his early teens. Most teens have problems, experiment, and make mistakes. A few cross the sacred line into chaos and murder.

Do parenting, society, and the culture play any role in what causes a still developing child to cross that line?  The overwhelming evidence shows us that it does. Can a more collaborative approach to parenting and a more nurturing role of society help to mitigate these ills? Intuition says that they can.

untitledThe compiler of the article advises us to euthanize the “bad seed”. This person comes from the same mentality which advocates bringing every human conception to fruition, no matter what the circumstances.

Conception can lead to the birth of a human being, but not a complete human being. There is only the form and a potential, but the baby must develop physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

The compiler of the article is suggesting we execute disturbed young teens as a prophylactic measure.

If something goes wrong in post-birth development, do we abort the human being, lock them away forever or cast them into hell? Maybe we, as a society, should at least make an attempt to bring damaged teens to full term in the hopes of saving some lives.

8. Scott Lehr — Convicted of capital murder. Sentenced to other than death. Later released. After release, between Feb 91 and Feb 92 lured 10 different female victims, between the ages of 10 and 48-years-old, into his car. Raping and beating them unconscious, stripped and adandoned them in the desert. Three of his victims died in those acts.

Maricopa logic: Palm fronds were found near the victim, Scott Lehr trims palm trees, therefore Scott Lehr killed the victim.
Maricopa logic: Palm fronds were found near the victim, Scott Lehr trims palm trees, therefore Scott Lehr killed the victim.

“Lehr, a Phoenix, Aizona resident at the time and father of three daughters, became known as the “Baby Seat” rapist in 1991 and 1992 for his use of a baby seat in his car to lure 10 young girls and women.

Through various ploys, Lehr would lure the women, either hitchhiking or walking alone, into his car and drive them to a remote desert area. There, he sexually assaulted, choked and beat the women with large rocks.

This sentencing re-trial for Lehr began in January.

“Our office will seek justice for the victims of heinous murders as often as necessary, including those cases in which the death penalty has already been imposed once before,” Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said in the statement.

Lehr was also sentenced in 1997 to 17 consecutive life sentences on 32 counts of attempted murder, sexual assault and kidnapping”

Since this is an Arizona case, we should look a little closer.

Andrew Thomas, Maricopa Arizona’s top prosecutor at the time and quoted above, was disbarred in 2010 by an Arizona ethics board.

“Prosecutor Andrew Thomas joined forces with Sheriff Joe Arpaio to wage a war against County officials, judges and others in 2008 and 2009. Sheriff Joe and Thomas conducted “a coup in MaricopaCounty by arresting, prosecuting and suing all of the county elected officials, including sitting Judges they did not like”.

As a result, many of the targets of these attacks sued MaricopaCounty, costing the county millions.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/04/16/20090416abrk-deathsentence0416.html#ixzz2nvZhL8a6

There is also reason to believe that the “Baby Seat Rapist / Killer” is not the rapist / killer at all.

– Many of the victims reported build, face, age and hair color much different than the defendants’. These reports were later amended to instead report that the suspect matched Lehr’s description.

– Several witnesses completely changed their descriptions of the make, model, and color vehicle Lehr was driving after they spoke with prosecutors working on the case.

– Also the observation of a “baby seat” in the back of Lehr’s car, supposedly used to gain a victim’s confidence and lure the victim into the car, was not a part of most eyewitness descriptions, until after talking with prosecutors. One reported she saw a maroon baby seat, while Scott’s baby seat was blue.

-Scott Lehr was sitting at the defendant’s tables at the front of the courtroom right in front of an eyewitness / victim, when she was asked to identify her attacker. The victim pointed at a man standing in the back of the courtroom.

She repeatedly stated that the man in the defendant’s chair (Scott Lehr) was not the man who attacked her.

-The prosecution expert DNA witness admitted that some of the DNA evidence could be from insects. Scott Lehr “could not be excluded”, and neither could millions of others people and animals.

Appeal:      http://www.supreme.state.az.us/opin/pdf2002/cr-97-0317-ap.pdf

Finally, the idea that Scott Lehr was arrested and sentenced and then let go to commit further crimes is mistaken. Lehr was arrested and charged with multiple violent crimes. Convictions for violent acts from one set of charges were used as “prior capital offenses” in another set of charges from concurrent cases.

So perhaps we should take a much closer look at the facts and evidence in State v. Lehr, before deciding to take Scott Lehr out of this world by way of execution. The many exonerated prisoners from death row, and particularly in Arizona, are the best reason to abolish the death penalty, not sustain it.

9. James Erin McKinney — Convicted of capital murder. Sentenced to other than death. Later released. Then murdered Christine Mertens in a home invasion robbery. Later murdered James McClain in another separate home invasion robbery.

As support for imposition of a noncapital sentence, McKinney presented evidence at sentencing as to what even the sentencing judge found to be an “extraordinary” and “traumatic childhood,” which would be “beyond the comprehension and understanding of most people . . . .”

imagesCAJYBIUXMcKinney grew up in extreme poverty, living in filth, lacking adequate clothing, and suffering constant physical and emotional abuse, largely at the hands of his stepmother. McKinney consistently arrived at school poorly dressed, dirty, and covered in welts and bruises from beatings he received at home. Unsurprisingly, McKinney ran away repeatedly, appearing at the homes of relatives and friends bearing signs that he had been beaten.

http://www.azcentral.com/specials/special32/articles/0903mckinney-ON.html?&wired

Also, the compiler of the article is misrepresenting the facts. “Convicted of capital murder. Sentenced to other than death. Later released. Then murdered Christine Mertens in a home invasion robbery. Later murdered James McClain in another separate home invasion robbery.”

This is not true. James McKinney was not convicted, sentenced, and released when he committed later murders.

McKinney was arrested for both murders. Each concurrent murder was used as a prior conviction for the other. This is another Arizona case, and this tricky way of creating a prior convictions aggravator is the way they do things in Arizona. If the compiler was concerned enough to know anything about Arizona capital cases and researched his compilation of “facts” carefully, he would know this well.

10. Robert Lee Massie — Sentenced to the DP, but overturned by Furman, which resulted in him committing further new murders.

robert e leeRobert Lee Massie (Why do all these criminals seem to be named after Robert E. Lee, the famous Civil War Confederate General?) was 24 years old when he committed robbery, attempted murder, and murder, and was sentenced to death in California’s gas chamber.

Furman vs. Georgia changed his destiny, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty had been applied unfairly and arbitrarily to certain people and crimes. There was a moratorium on the death penalty in all states.

“Massie’s first death sentence came after he committed a series of robberies and assaults between January 7 and January 15, 1965, in Los AngelesCounty.

Robert Lee Massie was convicted of one count of first-degree murder in the Jan. 3, 1979 death of Boris G. Naumoff. A San   FranciscoCounty jury sentenced Massie to death on May 25, 1979.

dpMassie shot and killed Naumoff during a liquor store robbery, and wounded Charles Harris, another store employee. This crime occurred while Massie was on parole for a murder he committed in Los Angeles County in 1965. He had been given a death sentence for that crime, but it was overturned in 1972 when the California Supreme Court ruled the death penalty was unconstitutional.

Along with Charles Manson and the other Manson killers, Robert Lee Massie’s sentence for his 1965 crime was commuted to life. Massie served less then six years for murder and was paroled in 1972. Massie served only six years for robbery, assault with a deadly weapon with serious injuries and murder?

Fortunately, this no longer happens, and first degree murderers now face minimum mandatory prison sentences and very strict parole requirements. So, execution is not the only way or the most effective way to protect the public and prevent recidivism.

11. Kenneth McDuff – Sentenced to the DP, but overturned by Furman. Subsequently released, and murdered as many as 19 young women after his release. Finally executed in 1998 for the murder of Melissa Ann Northrup  … Who once remarked “Killing a woman is like killing a chicken. They both squawk.”

Kenneth McDuff
Kenneth McDuff

Kenneth Allen McDuff is one of the most hated and reviled names in Texas criminal history. Often called “the Poster Boy of Capital Punishment,” he is the only man in US history to be sentenced to death, released from death row and then sentenced to death again and executed for a different crime.”

“At the trial, FallsCounty sheriff Brady Pamplin, a former Texas Ranger, described McDuff as the most remorseless and sadistic killer he had ever met.

Twenty-seven years later, Pamplin’s son Larry, the current sheriff of FallsCounty, appeared at McDuff’s Houston trial for the 1992 abduction and murder of Melissa Northrup.”

“”Kenneth McDuff is absolutely the most vicious and savage individual I know,” he told reporters. “He has absolutely no conscience, and I think he enjoys killing.”

If McDuff had been executed as scheduled, he said, “no telling how many lives would have been saved.” At least nine, probably more, Texas authorities suspect.”

Murderpedia

A longer prison sentence may have accomplished the exact same goal, bringing McDuff into his fifties, when spree-type violent crimes become statistically rare.

“Dr. Labowitz never examined McDuff but said he based his conclusions on what he had learned about him, particularly his early days in the tiny town of Rosebud in Central Texas.”

“In some people we can find behavior antecedents in childhood. An absent father, a drunken mother, an abusive home. But it appears there was none of these. It seems his incredible lust for evil appeared spontaneously and full blown.”

No matter how thorough the studies of the Ted Bundys and Charles Mansons of the world, Labowitz said, “none of this can prepare us for an encounter with Kenneth McDuff.”

McDuff was certainly an aberration, and there will always be some of these in society. In America, we don’t play to the aberration. Will we execute prisoners who may be innocent of their crimes, execute teens, and execute those who can be salvaged to protect against a one in a millions aberration like McDuff?

Murderpedia

Of course, you will want to include the worst case scenario in your argument. Police methods have grown more capable and parole officers now do a better job as well. A man with this kind of record should never have been let out of prison so early.

This man could be a hopeless crack addict and an incurable sociopath, or perhaps at some point he gave up on society, and vowed to do whatever he wanted lashing out at the world until he was caught or killed.

12. Darryl Kemp — Sentenced to the DP, but overturned by Furman. Subsequently released. Authorities now say he raped and strangled a woman jogging, less than 4 months later.

“July 18, 1959, Darryl Thomas Kemp was the nylon stocking murderer of nurse Marjorie Hipperson, one of the most sensational Los Angeles crimes of the 1950’s.

The man sentenced to death last month in the 1978 killing of Armida Wiltsey bears little resemblance to the 23 year-old who was arrested in 1959 on charges of kidnapping and raping a woman in Griffith Park while posing as a ranger. At 73, according to news reports, Kemp often dozes behind dark glasses and uses a wheelchair although some doctors say he is faking his mental and physical illnesses and is perfectly capable of walking.

TentsignKemp’s story is a triumph of criminal forensics in which investigators working nearly 50 years apart used crime scene evidence to link him to two notorious unsolved killings. And for supporters of capital punishment, his life highlights the tragedy of failing to enforce the death penalty.”

This is another worst case scenario, also made more unlikely by the improved communication and coordination between law enforcement agencies and the use of scientific crime-fighting techniques such as DNA and modern forensics.

More restrictive policies such as mandatory minimums and stricter parole policies have also reduced the possibilities of career violent offenders recklessly attacking victims . Mental health initiatives and early intervention also work to reduce the chances of a psychotic madman terrorizing society.

So, we have evolved in our approach to the dangers of extreme criminal violence, by increasing efforts on the front end, aimed at prevention, efforts at the middle, aimed at better detection and apprehension of criminals, and efforts on the back end, aimed at attempts to salvage broken lives. If none of these efforts work for some individuals, we them have no choice but to isolate them like viruses from the rest of society.

So let’s review:

  1. John McRae: was convicted of murder at age 16. He could not have been executed or kept in jail indefinitely.

2.  John Miller was age 15 at the time of the murder. He could not have been executed or kept in jail indefinitely.

3.  Charles Lee Crawford committed one murder and is still serving a life sentence in Missouri

Charles Ray Crawford committed a single act of murder and was sentenced     to death in Mississippi.

4.  Jack Dempsey Ferrell, an alcoholic, killed his girlfriend, showed no remorse, was released after serving only 5 years, and he killed another girlfriend.

5.  Timothy Buss murdered an infant at age 13. He could not have been executed or kept in jail indefinitely.

6.  Dwain Little was age 17 at the time of the murder. He was released after just 8 years.

7.   Chad Allen Lee was age 15 at the time of the murder.

8.   Scott Lehr was arrested for a series of crimes including assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, attempted murder and murder. He was never released from prison. There are serious discrepancies in his case. Elements from one murder were used as prior capital offenses in the others.

9.  James Erin McKinney was never released from prison. He was arrested for two separate murders. Each murder was used as a prior capital conviction in the other.

10.  Robert Lee Massie committed a robbery/murder, served less than 6 years and was released, and committed another robbery/murder.

11.  Kenneth Allen McDuff was a convicted triple-murderer who was sentenced to death. Due to chronic overcrowding, Texas inexplicably paroled him. This spree killer and crack addict was one of the most savage killers in American history. McDuff is responsible for Texas completely overhauling their prison, parole, and sentencing systems.

12.  Darryl Kemp was arrested for assault and rape, but not murder. These could have been capital offenses in the 1950’s, but now only murder is a capital offense. He was paroled and went on to commit a series of murders.

To use cases going back to the 50’s and 60’s (1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 12), cases which contradict or don’t fit the very premise of the article (3, 8, 9, 12) cases where the State made bad judgments or provided no services (1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 11) and cases of severely disturbed teenagers (1, 2, 6, 7), as examples in an argument for sustaining something as outmoded and barbaric as the death penalty, is more than a little intellectually dishonest, to say the least.

UncleSamSo, while originally viewing the article gave me pause and made me re-evaluate my position, a closer look at these cases makes me even more adamant that this way of looking at and dealing with the worst of society by the best of society needs to be relegated to the museums and the history books.

The death penalty IS required in America.

Condemning this practice and realizing we have outgrown this backwards policy will continue to drive a Cultural Evolution for a more caring, engaged and enlightened society. Beginning with the federal government, spreading to the last State hanger’s on, and then throughout the world, the death penalty is required…

…to be allowed to die a quick and painless death.

r-CALIFORNIA-DEATH-PENALTY-large570

http://www.wesleylowe.com/repoff.html