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Opinion

Readers React: Who cares how condemned inmates feel about Gov. Newsom’s execution moratorium?

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A condemned inmate is led out of his cell at San Quentin State Prison in 2016.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

To the editor: The front-page article casting convicted murderer Douglas Stankewitz in a sympathetic light was deeply offensive.

This man claims he was framed for a murder that took place 41 years ago, yet two separate juries have found otherwise. Whether he fired the gun that killed 22-year-old Theresa Graybeal is immaterial. What has been established beyond any reasonable doubt is that Stankewitz was one of the four individuals who abducted Graybeal, and that she was ultimately murdered.

Stankewitz is fortunate that he hasn’t been executed. Hopefully, prosecutors will not waste court time and taxpayer money on another penalty trial and will instead agree to a commuted sentence of life without parole.

When Stankewitz’s significant other Colleen Hicks talks of his ultimate freedom and waxes poetic about her belief that living with her will be his antidote to incarceration, I can only feel disgust and anger, thinking of the victim’s young life, senselessly ended 41 years ago.

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Marcia Goodman, Long Beach

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To the editor: The death penalty is a charade in California because the system allows a passionate minority to delay and obstruct each sentence and then cite these same delays as a basis to suspend further executions.

Any reasonable person understands that the objections to the process (inequity and the type of drugs, for example) are really just a subterfuge and that the real goal is to eliminate the process completely.

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In issuing his moratorium on executions, Gov. Gavin Newsom invalidated the victims, the juries, the prosecutors and the judges who all worked within the system, as ordered by state law, to render these verdicts.

Since the Democrats have a legislative supermajority in California, perhaps they should find the political courage either to eliminate the death penalty and write fair and equitable statutes that address the most heinous crimes, or fix the existing system and eliminate the delays and flaws cited by the opponents of capital punishment.

Tim Mayeda, Yorba Linda

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To the editor: At the heart of the pro-death penalty argument, there seems to be the fallacious belief that the taking of one life demands the taking of another. The word “justice” is used when the appropriate term is “revenge.”

Another word often heard is “closure” upon the execution of a prisoner. There is, of course, no real closure to the death of a loved one.

Most certainly, the memory of the victim is ill served by the taking of another life.

Norm Levine, Santa Monica

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