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Opinion

Opinion: These convicted killers deserve to be executed

San Quentin
San Quentin State Prison’s lethal injection chamber, completed in 2010, has never been used.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Some families of murder victims are urging voters to to pass Proposition 66, a measure designed to speed up California’s death penalty. (“‘I am 25 and still afraid of the dark': Victims’ families wrestle with grief as they weigh the death penalty on the ballot,” Oct. 28) 

Actor Mike Farrell, who is against the death penalty, was quoted in a previous Times article as saying, “We have determined that some human beings are not human, are not worthwhile or capable, and that we can just do away with them.” 

Unfortunately, this is true: There are evil people with no heart or soul.

One doesn’t have to look far beyond the “Grim Sleeper.” Ask Mark Klaas, the father of Polly, about these people. Ask the parents of the USC student from China who was beaten to death while walking home at night. One of his killers was a 16-year-old girl who followed the badly beaten young man and viciously attacked him again. 

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Life without parole guarantees these people what they viciously took from their victims and the families whose suffering never ends. Give these people the justice they deserve. 

Judy and Jerry Winick, Los Angeles

..

To the editor: What convicted murderer Robert Rhoades did to 8-year-old Michael Lyons is incomprehensible to me, in the sense that my brain cannot grasp the 10 hours of horror the poor child endured before dying.

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Yet I also cannot accept his mother’s insistence that we should execute this monster. Killing Rhoades won’t bring the boy back. 

It won’t stop future monsters; these people are clearly not sane, and we know the death penalty doesn’t deter them. There are only two plausible justifications for an execution. First, it would prevent him from killing again. Yet permanent imprisonment does the same. The other justification is revenge. I understand this instinct; I would love to subject Rhoades to the same agony his victim suffered. 

But that’s my gut speaking, not my civilized self. And making him spend decades behind bars, knowing he will never see freedom, is in the long run more painful.

Geoff Kuenning, Claremont

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