"If we execute murderers and there is in fact no
deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute
murderers, and doing so would in fact have deterred other murders, we have
allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. I would much rather risk
the former. This, to me, is not a tough call."
John McAdams - Marquette University/Department of Political Science, on
proponent of activism, who relies heavily on their popularity as a
performer to attempt to advance their own personal political agenda
Who speaks for the victims of those we execute?
All over the country, news stories bemoan and hype the countdown to
execution number 1,000. But where are the stories regarding the
ripple effects of the heinous crimes that these murderers were
executed for committing? Who is counting the victims?
A conservative estimate puts the number of victims of these 1,000
murderers at 1,895. Why do we hear so much about the killers and so
little about the victims and their loved ones who are left behind to
pick up the pieces?
A small sampling of case histories will leave readers shaken.
Melvin and Linda Lorenz, and their son Richard were killed by Roger
Stafford. Melvin stopped on a highway near Purcell, Okla., to help
what he thought was a woman whose car had broken down, but instead
was ambushed by Stafford and his brother, using Stafford's wife as
bait. Less than a month after these horrific murders, the trio
killed six employees of a steak house in Oklahoma City.
In 1985, 13-year-old Karen Patterson was shot to death in her bed in
North Charleston, S.C. Her killer was a neighbor who had already
served 10 years of a life sentence for murdering his half-brother
Charles in 1970. Joe Atkins cut the Pattersons' phone lines, then
entered bearing a machete, a sawed-off shotgun, and a pistol.
Karen's parents were chased out of their home by Atkins. Karen's mom
ran to the Atkins home nearby, where Joe then murdered his adopted
father, Benjamin Atkins, 75, who had worked to persuade parole
authorities to release Joe from the life sentence.
When Katy Davis observed three strangers outside her Austin, Texas,
apartment, she walked away. Returning later, she was attacked and
forced to open the door by Charles Rector, on parole for a previous
murder. The men ransacked her apartment, abducted her and took her
to a lake where she was beaten, gang-raped, shot in the head and
repeatedly forced underwater until she drowned.
Ruby Longsworth of Pasadena, Texas, met Jeffrey Barney through a
prison ministry, then helped him get paroled from an auto-theft
sentence. Her kindness was repaid when Barney raped and sodomized
her, then strangled her with a cord. She had made the mistake of
calling Barney "a bum" after she had gotten to know him better.
In 1965, Robert Massie murdered mother of two Mildred Weiss in San
Gabriel, Calif., during a follow-home robbery. Hours before
execution, a stay was issued so Massie could testify against his
accomplice. Massie's sentence was commuted to life when the Supreme
Court halted executions in 1972. Receiving an undeserved second
chance, Massie was paroled, but eight months later robbed and
murdered businessman Boris Naumoff in San Francisco.
Faith Hathaway was 17 when she was murdered by Robert Willie, whose
story became the inspiration for the film Dead Man Walking. Hathaway
had just graduated from high school and was leaving for the Army the
next day. She was abducted after leaving a farewell party in
Mandeville, La. Willie and accomplice Joseph Vaccaro had been on an
8-day murder, robbery and rape spree. Hathaway was raped by both
assailants and stabbed 17 times. She was raped again after she died.
Kenneth Boyd murdered his estranged wife Julie and his
father-in-law, Dillard Curry in Rockingham County, N.C. Julie and
her children were living with Curry. Boyd entered the home and shot
them both in the presence of his own children, then ages 13, 12 and
We must think about the lives that all 1,895 murdered victims
affected. Every one had families, friends, relatives, co-workers,
neighbors. The combined loss is incalculable.
There is no end to horror stories like these. Jurors, who represent
us, hear about horrific crimes and make tough but appropriate
decisions. With a yearly average of 15,000 murders, the fact that we
are reaching 1,000 executions in only a little more than 30 years is
proof that capital punishment has been reserved for the worst of the
The attention given to the execution of 1,000 murderers is
repugnant, especially when the loudest voices think the death of a
convicted murderer is a tragedy. Yet the deaths and suffering of
countless victims is only an easily-ignored statistic.
Cary Ann Medlin
"Jesus loves you,
Jesus loves you."
Said over and over to her rapist just
before he murdered her.
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This site is being developed as
a resource for those searching the internet for pro-death penalty information
and resources. Capital punishment is a topic that brings up deep emotional
reactions for those on both sides of the issue and conflict for those who are
undecided how they feel.
If you search the internet via search
engines for "death penalty", you are likely to find thousands, if not tens
of thousands of "hits" to web sites related to the topic. With very few
exceptions, these sites are anti-death penalty. Is this because the
majority of people are against the death penalty? Not according to recent
surveys. It is simply because people who are adamantly opposed to the
death penalty tend to take an activist stance and become involved in
working to stop the death penalty. For the most part, people who support
the death penalty do so quietly, in their own minds and feel no need to do
so in any public fashion. It is the law and they expect it to be carried
We have developed a database of the victims of
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any, information about their victims. Our database is indexed by the name of the
victim. Currently, it contains over 1800 names of victims. There are over 3500
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