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Viewpoint - Death Sentences Take Too Long

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We had an unusual occurrence in Mississippi this week. 

 

Two men who had been on death row for a very long time were finally executed back to back on Wednesday and Thursday.  Paul Woodward, 62, was put to death for the rape and murder of 24 year-old Rhonda Crane in 1986 in Perry County. 

 

72 year old Gerald Holland died by lethal injection for the rape and murder of Krystal King, a Harrison county teenager in 1987 on her birthday.  

 

Both were particularly heinous crimes. We taxpayers have borne the expense of housing and feeding and taking care of these two for well over 20 years. Meanwhile, the families of the victims have been denied closure and resolution as they have lived in grief and perhaps understandable bitterness.  While they will always grieve…knowing that justice has finally been served…however delayed…hopefully this will give them some sense of peace. 

 

It seems to take over two decades for someone sentenced to death in Mississippi to even be in danger of paying the price for their crimes. That is entirely too long. Certainly, all legal processes should be played out before taking someone’s life…surely that can be done in less than 20-plus years.  Often the crime and, except for family and friends, even the victim has been forgotten by the time the perpetrator pays for what they have so wantonly done. 

 

If the death penalty is to have any sort of deterrent effect—there needs to be a closer connection.  We are told that more executions will likely be taking place in the near future. We can only wonder how long justice has been delayed in these cases and what the families of their victims have been going through. 

 

I’m Jim Cameron  with today’s Viewpoint. Write and let us know what’s on your mind.

 

Contact Jim Cameron at jcameron@wdam.com