“My dad wasn’t there for me when I turned 21 last month. He’s not going to be there when I graduate from college. He’s not going to be there when I get married. And I won’t have been satisfied with life imprisonment. I’m sorry, I don’t care if Texas had it or not. I would not be satisfied because he (the murderer) can still live.”
“Laurie was my only child. I’ll never hear anyone call me mom, I’ll never be a grandmother. My life stopped.”
“Having a needle put into your arm and getting into a nice, peaceful sleep. That is nothing compared to putting a gun to our families’ heads.”
Death penalty is sometimes just
Donna R. Avery • Jonesboro • November 2, 2010 - I read with interest the commentary written by Amy Fontana opposing the death penalty. My brother was brutally murdered in Convent, La., in 1997. After a trial in St. James Parish, a parish which had never rendered a death penalty before, my brother's killer was sentenced to death. The brutality of this crime overrode any qualms the jurors may have had arising from their faith and strong religious backgrounds. This man remains on death row. The evidence left no doubt as to his guilt. If a close family member of Ms. Fontana was taken from her, as my brother was taken from me, our parents and his two children, she might revise her opinion of who received the "ultimate denial of human rights." My family does not seek vengeance. My family wants justice. My brother's killer was a crack addict on parole for armed robbery. He and his partner were on a killing spree. They killed a lady in St. John Parish during this spree and he was convicted of that crime. There was a video introduced at the trial of him shooting at a convenience store clerk as the clerk's child was tugging at his dad's pants leg telling him it was time for a birthday party. Life in prison for this man is not justice. The killer gets to walk outside every day and enjoy the sunshine, gets to talk to his family and others, can receive visitors, can write letters and participates in a prison pen pal program. My brother cannot. He is dead. Ms. Fontana complains of the cost of a death penalty trial. I say there is no price too high for justice. Ms. Fontana can speak of alternatives and statistics and other justifications for her position. It is easy to take a moral stand on an issue when you have not been personally touched by it. I respect her opinion. I, for one, disagree with it.
CASE: On Oct. 29, 2009, he abducted Malave at knifepoint and drove her to the half-way house in west Orange County where he lived. He then raped her, ordered her to put her clothes back on and choked her to death from behind even though she had done everything he asked and did not resist until he began to strangle her.
"I do feel pleased with the judgement because even though he's not gonna die anytime soon," said Malave's sister, Wendy Melez. "I'm OK with the fact that's he's going to live every single day knowing it's a countdown to his life."
Dr. William Petit said Tuesday July 27 2010 that lawmakers who voted last year to abolish the death penalty do not represent the will of the majority. He cited a Quinnipiac University poll showing strong support for capital punishment in the state.
“I hope the
people of Connecticut get out and vote,” Petit said. “I don’t want the people of Connecticut to be the silent
Prosecutor Michael Dearington said there was no legal basis to grant the defense motions.
Petit, who was beaten during the home invasion, called the arguments frivolous.
“This is not about revenge,” said Petit, who remained composed during the somber press conference. “This is about justice. We need to have some rules in a civilized society.”
“Fortunately, justice delayed wasn’t justice denied,” he said at another point. “But it was many, many sleepless nights and a lot of worry, a lot of agitation, a lot of tears.”
“Michaela was an 11-year-old tortured and killed in her room among her stuffed animals,” Petit said. “Hayley had a great future. Jennifer helped so many kids.”
“This is a verdict for justice,” Dr. Petit said afterward. “The defendant faces far more serious punishment from the Lord than he can ever face from mankind.”
"Vengeance belongs to the Lord. This is about justice. We need to have some rules in a civilized society."
“Both Hayes and Komisarjevsky are desperate to avoid the death penalty, and argued that their desire to spend life in prison proves it a fate better, not worse, than death.”
Dr. William Petit, whose family loss still haunts us today, supports the death penalty. Dr Petit responded to Gov. Rell's vetoing a bill abolishing the death penalty: “I want to thank Gov. Rell for her moral courage and clarity to stand up for what is right and just with her veto of the bill to abolish the death penalty. The death penalty is the appropriate just and moral societal response to those who commit capital felonies." Dr. Petit also said in another statement: "For certain murders and other crimes there is no other penalty that will serve justice other than the death penalty".
Thursday 5 April 2012 - Eleven people are currently on death row in Connecticut, including Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky, who both were sentenced for their roles in the 2007 murders of the Petit family in Cheshire, Connecticut.
The high-profile case drew national attention and sparked conversations about home security and capital punishment.
Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor in that attack, has remained a staunch critic of repeal efforts.
"We believe in the death penalty because we believe it is really the only true, just punishment for certain heinous and depraved murders," Petit told CNN affiliate WFSB.
"One thing you never hear the abolitionists talk about is the victims, almost never. The forgotten people. The people who died and can't be here to speak for themselves."
Hawke-Petit’s father, Rev. Richard Hawke, spoke first.
“Justice is being served,” he said. “Our society has spoken.”
Rev. Hawke invoked the Ten Commandments as the “basis of our law.” The first of those commandments is “thou shalt not kill,” he noted.
“There are some people who just do not deserve to live,” he said.
The family of torture-slaying victims Channon Christian and Chris Newsom praised a jury's sweeping guilty verdict against defendant George Thomas today and said they want to see him receive the death penalty.
"They took our kids' lives away," Newsom's mother Mary said this afternoon, referring to Thomas and his co-defendants. "We feel like they should take his life, too."
Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill which abolished the death penalty in Illinois on Wednesday 9 March 2011: Far fewer inmates were affected by Quinn's decision. And not all relatives of their victims were upset. At least one family was divided.
As a 9-year-old five years ago, Quincy Newburn had urged a jury to give the death sentence to Dion Banks, who was convicted of killing his mother in 2001 during a carjacking while Quincy and his brother, who were 4 and 5 at the time, watched from the back seat.
"I've already forgiven him for what he did, but I want to see justice in action," said Quincy, who is now 14.
Quincy's father, Tyrone Newburn Sr., 53, once felt the same way but has since changed his mind — though not because he has forgiven Banks.
"Just putting them to death would be too easy for the offender, so I figure it would be more of a punishment to let them rot in jail for the rest of their lives," said the elder Newburn, a maintenance worker for Chicago Public Schools.
"Please consider the family of the victims, those left behind to remember," wrote Diane Martin, whose sister, Ruth Gee, was murdered in 2009 along with her husband and three of their children in downstate Beason.
"It is plain that the persons responsible for committing the crime care nothing for life," Martin told Quinn. "Why should the state protect them from the same fate they have dealt?"
Asked if Pierce’s arrest made her feel any better or gave her some sense of closure, Johnson said, “It would help if he was on Death Row.
“Nothing’s going to bring my daughter back,” she said. “But I wish this state still had the death penalty for that man. He took someone else’s life. He should have his life taken.”
In the letter read out in Arabic by a prosecutor on Sunday and carried out by Agence France Presse (AFP), Granville wrote:
Statement to Sudan Court by Jane Granville
FrontLines - July 2009
The following statement was read in court on June 24 on behalf of Jane Granville by her Sudanese lawyer following the announcement of a guilty verdict in the murder of her son:
I, Jane Granville, as the sole heir of my son, John Michael Granville, am taking this opportunity to convey my wishes to the court regarding the sentencing of the defendants in his murder trial. I would like also to confirm to the court that I have not and will not accept any form of payment in exchange for leniency.
From the day I brought this beautiful man into this world, I knew he was special, and it was such a privilege to watch my only son grow into the unselfish humanitarian he became. The best example of that was illustrated in his last hours. I am told that he was unconscious when he arrived at the hospital after he and Abdel Rahman were shot. When he regained consciousness, his first question was, “How is AR?” and he kept asking that question over and over again. Until John’s last moment, and despite the obvious differences of nationality, race and John Granville, far left, with Sinclair Cornell, BearingPoint Inc.; Stephanie Funk, USAID; Faisal Sultan, BearingPoint Inc.; and Rich Haselwood, Mercy Corps, in Khartoum, November 2007. religion, John identified what he had in common with others and viewed everyone as fellow human beings. Even as he was dying, he continued to care more about others than he did about himself.
That love of others is one of the reasons why John valued his work in Sudan. His dedication and commitment to supporting and advancing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement guided his efforts toward the dream of a just, stable, and peaceful Sudan. Losing John is, therefore, not only an enormous loss for his family, friends and colleagues; it is also an enormous loss for the people of Sudan.
It is in John’s spirit of putting the concerns of others first that I submit this statement on sentencing, as required by Sudan’s legal system which found the defendants guilty of murder. This has been an extremely tragic and painful journey for all of us who knew and loved John. Our primary concern now is to ensure that the lives of other innocent, good-hearted and peace-loving people are not taken as his was. I believe that life in prison is the most appropriate punishment for those that commit murder, but Sudanese law does not provide for such a sentence.
“I say, with a torn heart, there is no option before me: a death sentence is the only sentence that safeguards the lives of others from those who killed my beloved son”.
Tuesday 15 May 2012 - Tia Hendricks’ mother, Deborah Hendricks, had hoped for a death sentence “since day one,” a relative said after the hearing.
“She felt comforted to know that he will be put to death,” said Anita Hayes, Tia Hendricks’ aunt.
She spoke on behalf of the mother, who suffered a stroke and a heart attack after the slayings and attended yesterday’s hearing in a wheelchair.
“Some of the family said, ‘Let him suffer in prison the rest of his life,’ but I can’t imagine what the death penalty is for if not for this,” Hayes said. “If the judges didn’t give him death, we might as well go over to the Statehouse and tell them to abolish it.”
Thursday 21 March 2013 - Family members of former Evarts mayor Ronnie King want murder suspect Shelby Shell to pay with his life.
Jerri Mulkey says her brother was murdered in cold blood.
Police say King was found dead inside his burning home last month, his hands and ankles tied, with duct tape covering his nose and mouth.
"You don't go out and buy duct tape and gasoline and zip ties and all this, if you're just snapping," Mulkey said.
29-year-old murder suspect Shelby Shell's family has claimed he killed King because of a mental illness, but Mulkey rejects that claim. Sister Diana Perkins says King's murder is the hardest thing the family has ever endured.
"It's destroyed us. It's killed us. I mean just like killing... him being dead, it's like it's killed us," Perkins said.
Shelby Shell has maintained this whole time that he is innocent and that police have the wrong man, but Ronnie King's family says he is guilty and they want justice.
"We do want lethal injection. We're pushing for that, and we do not have any sympathy for Shelby Shell or his family," Mulkey said.
Family members say it was not King's time to go, and they can not move on until his killer pays for what he has done.
Tuesday 19 March 2013 - The death penalty was debated at the State Capitol on Tuesday. But while the politicians talk, one survivor already has his mind made up.
Bobby Stephens was shot in the face and left for dead at a Chuck E. Cheese in Aurora in 1993. He was one of five people shot and the only survivor.
Now, nearly 20 years later, he still lives with the pain and believes up to now his shooter has gotten off easy.
"Nathan (Dunlap) has sat comfortably, living comfortably for 20 years longer than any of his victims. He's paid no penalties for what he's done. I'm paying in my taxes for Nathan to live in his jail cell. It's not fair," Stephens said.
"So far, Nathan hasn't lost any of his rights. He still has a voice, able to reach out to the outside world. I'm sure sitting in a jail cell he's made friends, got to know people," said Stephens.
On that fatal day in 1993, Stephens said he looked Dunlap straight in his eyes and Dunlap smiled at him before he shot him. He played dead and survived.
Friday 8 April 2011 - The father of a slain Watonga girl said he has forgiven the man charged with killing his daughter but still wants him to be executed.
Ralph Reynolds, 32, said Thursday he wants James “Icey” Daukei Jr. to feel the same pain felt by his daughter, 8-year-old Rosalin Reynolds.
“I forgive James,” Reynolds told The Oklahoman. “To his parents, I would say we both have lost a child, because he’s not getting out of prison. I want him to get the death penalty. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
Marilyn Datz of Houston, the mother of a murdered daughter, wrote to the Judiciary Committee, urging Gerratana and her colleagues to apply an ancient standard, that of an eye for an eye. "I personally implore you to keep the death penalty," Datz wrote. "No parent should ever have to bury their child."
Monday 11 April 2011 - Hartford, Conn. (WTNH) - Death penalty supporters are trying to rally support among Connecticut voters for capital punishment, promising to offer an amendment in the coming weeks that would streamline the appeals process. A group of legislators, police, advocates and family members of murder victims, including Dr. William Petit — whose wife and two daughters were killed in a Cheshire home invasion — appeared Monday at a news conference in Hartford. They are seeking to draw attention to a bill expected to advance in a committee vote this week that would repeal the death penalty for future capital crimes.
In 2003 three men were executed in a garage in Windsor Locks in a murder
for hire scheme. Four men were arrested. Linda Binnenkade's brother-in-law was
one of the victims. She says the prospect of execution loomed large with
the suspects. "These people that can put a bullet
in someone's head are afraid to sit on death row and they will bargain. We were
able to secure two convictions because two of them bargained with the death
penalty. They did not want the death penalty and so they testified against the
“It is critical that the death penalty not be repealed,” said Linda Binnenkade, a Windsor Locks resident whose brother-in-law, Barry Rossi, was killed as part of a triple homicide murder-for-hire plot in 2003. “There is a small group of legislatures who have decided and taken it upon themselves that this is the will of the Connecticut people. Overwhelmingly, surveys have shown the Connecticut people want the death penalty. They are going against our wishes and they are not representing our interests. People need to get involved. They need to call their senators.”
Binnenkade said prosecutors would not have been able to obtain convicts in her brother-in-law's murder without the death penalty, as it was used as bargaining tool against two of the four suspects who testified against the other two.
Friday 14 December 2012 - Hundreds turned out last night for a celebration of life event to honor an eight-year-old northeast Iowa girl who went missing last summer. Elizabeth Collins and her cousin were last seen riding their bikes in Evansdale. Their bodies were found last week and Elizabeth’s mother told the crowd gathered in a Cedar Falls church that the family had been planning a celebration when her daughter came home — and now she is home with God.
“We’re celebrating her life and we’re celebrating that she is not in pain anymore and she is with who better else than our Father in Heaven,” she said.
Heather Collins thanked her family, friends and the community for their support over the past five months. She and her husband spoke with reporters after the service.
“The service was absolutely amazing,” she said. “Seeing all the people that were there — it was overwhelming.”
A slide show of photos was projected on the big screen at the front of the church and Elizabeth’s parents arranged for her favorite songs to be sung.
“I know she was there the whole entire time and I just got this, like, warm feeling over me through the whole entire service and she was just there,” Collins said. “She still is here.”
Before the service, Drew Collins told reporters he wants to see the person responsible for his daughter’s death receive the death penalty.
“We don’t want this person to be able to hurt anybody else because whoever it is is sick and we’ll feel a lot better once that person’s is in custody,” Drew Collins said. “But I don’t think there ever can be closure in something like this. We’ll have to live with it the rest of our lives.”
Collins said he has always believed in the death penalty.
“I can forgive someone and Heather can forgive someone, but they still have to meet justice, punished for what they’ve done. It’s just not fair that they can take a life and that they can sit in prison and they can live the rest of their lives out and their family gets to go see them…but we don’t get to visit our daughter,” Collins said. “She’s gone.”
The couple will meet with Governor Branstad on Monday to talk about the death penalty issue. Branstad supports a limited form of capital punishment that would apply in a case like this, but this past Monday Branstad said it was unlikely the Democratic leader in the Iowa Senate will bring a death penalty bill up for a vote. Collins vows to be a vocal advocate for the death penalty.
“A lot of the people that are against the death penalty believe in abortion and that makes absolutely no sense to me,” Collins said. “…A lot of those people will probably fight us along this road that we’ve got to go, but we’re going to fight them.”
The father of a teenager who was kidnapped and murdered in Waterloo six years ago will accompany Drew and Heather Collins to Monday’s meeting with Branstad. A Des Moines woman whose son has been missing since 1982 and Republican Senator Kent Sorenson of Milo will be there, too. Sorenson plans to sponsor a bill that would restore capital punishment in Iowa.
"You get life in prison if you kidnap someone and you get life in prison if you murder someone in Iowa," Drew said. For the killer, "there was no reason to let (Elizabeth and Lyric) live."
Her husband, Drew Collins, said, "To me, it is criminal that we don't protect our children. If we don't protect our children, what are we as a society?"
Friday 25 January 2013 - However, Sen. Robert Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, chairman of the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee, has said the death penalty debate has already been settled in Iowa and he won’t allow the bill to be considered.
Drew Collins said it isn’t fair for Hogg to hold the death penalty bill hostage.
“If his child was missing, I don’t think he would feel the same way. This is not how this country is set up. As the parent of a murdered child, it just makes me sick that this is not even open for debate,” he said.
Noreen Gosch said she respects the opinions of legislators such as Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, who say they oppose the death penalty on moral grounds.
“But this isn’t about him. It is about little kids,” Gosch said. “What if somebody took your child and savagely murdered them, and then, God willing, they were caught and then all they got was some time in jail?”
Capital punishment won’t stop child abductions, but it may prevent someone from killing a child, Gosch added. “The criminals know we don’t have it, and it can be a deterrent,” she contended.
On 26 April 2006, during the execution of Daryl Linnie Mack in Nevada.
Three family members of a victim of another convicted murderer on death row quietly stood beside the protesters with their own signs reading "Peace and comfort to the Mays," "Standing with the May family" and "To honor and remember Betty Jane May." "I'm here to support the May family. It has nothing to do with the death penalty," said Pam McCoy, whose 25-year-old son Brian Pierce was murdered in 2002 by Robert Lee McConnell.
McConnell came within 34 minutes of being executed last June before he filed an appeal that won him an immediate stay. He remains on death row in Ely State Prison. Pierce's grandparents, Jim and Dee Tresley of Reno, joined McCoy. "We had a grandson murdered a while back, so we're for the death penalty," Jim Tresley said. "I think that's the only way you can stop crime."
“I’ve spoke to the prosecutors and they have huge amounts of evidence on these people. And if the evidence shows that these people are guilty. My son is never going to walk back that door and if the death penalty is what it takes, and that’s what it is because evil people are like that who are killing innocent people.”
Ed and Peggy Schaeffer of Black
Hawk, whose 22-year-old son, Donnivan, was killed by one of the death row
inmates, urged the committee to keep the death penalty. “Killers should not be allowed to live even in prison, where they are a
danger to guards and other inmates.” they said.
Pam Bosley says
she and other loved ones of victims of gun violence met Quinn a few weeks ago
and tried to talk him out of signing the bill.
“I can’t see my son at all no more. I can’t see him grow old” she said “They took all that from me, so I feel that their life needs to be ended”.
Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill which abolished the death penalty in Illinois on Wednesday 9 March 2011: Nicarico's anger was echoed by many victims' families after they learned of a governor's decision to clear Illinois' death row for the second time in less than a decade.
Karen Bond, 63, whose son, Jerry Weber, was killed by Edward Tenney in 1992, also was upset.
"I was really looking forward to sitting in the front row while they executed this guy," Bond said. "Now the taxpayers of Illinois have to pay his room and board."
Despite the death penalty's controversial history, McNamara strongly believes each case should be considered individually.
Even though Mertz has never confessed to killing Shannon, there was overwhelming evidence in the case: his DNA was found under her fingertips, his credit card was left at the crime scene and cellmates testified Mertz spoke openly about killing Shannon. Investigators have tried to link him to the 1999 murder of Charleston's Amy Warner.
Family members of murder victims also made emotional pleas. Among them was Cindy McNamara, whose daughter, Shannon, was murdered in 2001 while attending Eastern Illinois University.
Shannon McNamara was asleep in her locked off-campus apartment when she was raped, strangled, beaten and stabbed. Her body was left in the living room. A washcloth was stuffed in her mouth.
Former EIU student Anthony Mertz was convicted, becoming the first person sent to death row after Ryan emptied it.
"We have the death penalty for a reason," Cindy McNamara wrote in a letter to Quinn. "This is the reason!"
"Albert Brown, you will stand before God to give an account for this barbaric act. You have been a plague on society, and on all that is decent ....Your day of accountability is now upon you. The Jordan family will be watching," she wrote.
"Words cannot express the outrage that we, the Jordans, feel toward Albert Brown," e-mailed Karen Jordan Brown, the sister of Susan. "We wholeheartedly agree with the DA's petition to proceed with the execution. We've been waiting for this day for 30 years, and it is truly shameful that his death sentence has been dragged out this long."
Christopher Coleman, the Columbia, Ill., man accused of strangling his wife and two sons in 2009.
But surviving relatives like Mario DeCicco, the brother of murder victim Sheri Coleman, are still hoping some combination of events in the courtroom and the Legislature will make it happen.
"Any person convicted for killing a child should be put to death," DeCicco said.
It's a common sentiment in Monroe County, where residents shouted "Murderer!" and "Baby killer!" when Coleman arrived at the courthouse in Waterloo for his arraignment in 2009. Coleman's preliminary hearing was packed with spectators, among them a woman in a black T-shirt depicting an electric chair and the message, "I saved you a seat."