“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 deterrence
A theatrical 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 10.
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 worst.
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 out.
We have developed a database of the victims of death row inmates. Most similar databases list the inmate, with very little, if 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 inmates currently on death row, and many have multiple victims so the database will eventually contain about five times as many names as it currently has. If you have information about the victim of a death row inmate, please send us an email at [email protected]
If you are seeking information about the victims of a particular death row inmate, send an email to [email protected] and we will research your question.
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Site created on 7/18/98
This page last updated on 10/12/14