Opinion: My son was murdered. His killers must pay their debt to society by being executed.

Christina Stretz and her daughter Anabella Stretz, 9, lay flowers on the memorial for the salon victims at Eisenhower Park in Seal Beach on December 10, 2016. Christina lost her sister.
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: Your editorial says that many parents don’t want the death penalty for their children’s killers. This may be true for a small population of families, but until it’s your child that was murdered, you have no understanding of that loss. It doesn’t matter what kind of educational degree you have; you will never understand the hurt, loss and anger. (“The death penalty doesn’t bring closure so much as it extends trauma,” editorial, March 31)

My name is Hank Dandini. I lost my son Garret Dandini and my nephew Tony Dandini to the hands of gang bangers at a charity event. The assistant district attorney asked us if we would accept a sentence of life without parole. We said no, and I’m glad we did.

Death row is at one of the oldest prisons in California. The conditions there are very bad compared to a newer supermax prison. If we chose life without parole, these murderers would be living the life of supermax, being able to move around the prison yards and more.


I relive the moment of my son’s death every day. I understand I sound cold- hearted, but those murderers took the life of good man with a daughter. I am a Christian and have forgiven them, but they need to pay their debt to society. State officials need to honor their commitment to Californians, who voted into law the death penalty.

Hank Dandini, Rancho Cucamonga


To the editor: The word “closure” should be forever struck from the discourse on human trauma and loss.

Those who proffer closure as justification for the death penalty engage in the cruelest sort of chicanery. It is snake oil for sale to the vulnerable and the hurting; it is at best a palliative sold as a cure. Killing the hated will not bring back the loved.

We take great satisfaction in the closure that authors bring to their fiction, but our own lives are not subject to editing. Being human, our memory is the source of all our love and loss.

Films and novels have endings, but memory has no ending but death.

Kevin T. Freeman, Huntington Beach

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