Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Peculiar priorites.

Most of y'all have probably heard by now the story of the recent Arizona execution of Robert Comer.

Mr. Comer, when asked if he had any last words to say, responded, "Yes. Go Raiders."

The article listed above goes into great detail to discuss how Mr. Comer left this as his self-spoken epitaph, and then discusses at length the debate over whether it's cruel and unusual to inject a man with a heavy dose of Sodium Pentothal to put him to sleep before stopping his heart with pancuronium bromide.

Curiously, at NO POINT does the article detail what Mr. Comer was convicted of doing 20 years ago. Talk about your misplaced priorities-- that should have been the lead. Instead, the information wasn't just buried; it was simply ignored.

This information is readily availible, and I'll list it here. Be forewarned: It's disgusting.
Robert Charles Comer

Date of Birth: Dec. 14, 1956

On Feb. 23, 1987, Comer and his girlfriend, Juneva Willis, were at a campground near Apache Lake. They invited Larry Pritchard, who was at the campsite next to theirs, to have dinner and drinks with them. Around 9 p.m., Comer shot Pritchard in the head, killing him. He and Willis then stole Pritchard's belongings. Around 11 p.m., Comer and Willis went to a campsite occupied by Richard Brough and his girlfriend. Comer stole their property, hogtied Brough to a car fender, and then raped his girlfriend in front of Brough. Comer and Willis then left the area, taking the girlfriend with them, but leaving Brough behind. Brough's girlfriend escaped the next morning and ran for 23 hours before finding help. Willis pled guilty to kidnapping and testified against Comer.

Trial Verdict: Jan. 21, 1988.
Sentencing: April 11, 1988.
Aggravating Circumstances: Prior convictions involving violence. Pecuniary gain. Especially heinous/depraved.
Mitigating Circumstances: None sufficient to call for leniency

Source: "Profiles of Arizona Death Row Inmates," Arizona Attorney General's Office.

Why did it take 19 years along with a sudden withdrawal of appeals to get Comer's sentence carried out? If he was crazy when he committed those crimes, how could he now live with himself now that he's been treated? If he's still that crazy, then he's still an active menace to the world, and we don't want him on this planet. Murder, Theft. Rape. Kidnapping. What does it take?

Remember that campsites are dangerous places primarily because of the two-legged critters. Remember George Comer's misplaced values, and arm yourself accordingly.

But forget about his stupid last words; his priorities were already messed up, to begin with.
A nice, pleasant Sodium Pentothal-induced nap, versus murder, robbery, violent rape in front of the victim's boyfriend, and kidnapping before the victim had to run for a day in the desert. Keep in mind the condemned man's actual actions when listening to those who would claim that the death penalty is "cruel and unusual punishment."

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At Friday, May 25, 2007 6:35:00 AM, Blogger Babs RN said...

I'm all for capital punishment fairly dispensed (sounds fair to me there). We had the Alday family murders in 1973 and Carl Isaacs went to the the table(finally) in 2003. The rest of the clan did not get death. Billy Isaacs testified and got out in 1993 and was extradited from there to Maryland to do his time for the murder he committed there (he had been 15 at the time). Wayne Carl Coleman and George Dungee were held here at our little spot down the road and I have met them both in my work there. Dungee died last year of natural causes. Dungee was actually the one to shoot Mary Alday, because he had never killed anybody before and wanted to know what it was like. They left her in an ant bed in the woods. The rest of the family had been killed one-by-one as they came in from the fields for lunch, each taken to the back and shot as Mary Alday was held captive in her kitchen and raped repeatedly there as well as outside. She then was made to huddle naked in the back floorboard of the car as she was taken out to the woods to her death.

And everybody wanted to save Carl Isaacs. Why? They don't have any clue what he was capable of - and did - while he was in prison. He was a master criminal mind, to the point they wouldn't let anybody ranked under Sgt talk to him. He had women sending him weapons through the mail. He orchestrated an escape from Death Row back when Death Row was here in Reidsville, and at shift change one morning several death row inmates walked out of the facility dressed as correctional officers because of his genius and ability to set people up. He would have been one of them but he was transferred out that morning. One of those uniforms still hangs in the warden's office as a reminder.

My only question is, why should it take so many years to dispense justice? It's a waste of resources and a waste of air.

At Friday, May 25, 2007 7:10:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

"My only question is, why should it take so many years to dispense justice? It's a waste of resources and a waste of air."

And, as you bring up, a tremendous risk where some are concerned.

At Friday, May 25, 2007 7:42:00 AM, Blogger phlegmfatale said...

Hear, hear.

As for cruel and unusual punishment - I think even when death penalty is administered, it's not even remotely cruel enough.

And what is up with people dying of old age on Death Row? The cruel and unusual punishment is what the victims' families go through. The perps have 3 hots-&-a-cot and a constant feed of Oprah and HBO. It's upside-down.

At Friday, May 25, 2007 10:58:00 AM, Blogger BellaLinda said...

The death penalty is one of those things I waiver on. As a Christian it seems I should be against it. As a believer in justice, it seems I should be for it.

At any rate, I do believe this is another excellent example of media bias. They have their causes and leave out anything that doesn't fit in with them.

I recall when ol' Tookie Williams's death was impending. We had to hear time & again about how he had a religious conversion in jail and was theoretically anti-gang. There was little mention of him being a founding member of the Crips, and oddly enough none of those decrying his sentence as racism ever stopped to consider how thoroughly that street gang has decimated one race in particular. (But I guess it's OK, since he was black?)

For all the worries over putting innocent men to death, while there have been several removed from death row due to innocence, we're still waiting for the first dead person's innocence to be proven. (There was a famous case in VA, the name escapes me at the moment, who was gonna be the one to be cleared, but of course it was his DNA after all.

At Friday, May 25, 2007 12:40:00 PM, Anonymous KCSteve said...

The problem is one of terminology.

It's not really a 'death penalty', it's 'social maintenance'.

We, as a society, are not 'punishing' someone by putting them to death, we're just acknowledging that they have so transgressed against Society that they can no longer be permitted to be part of it. Since we no longer have any place we can exile them to we're forced to eliminate them.

That's why I favor 'humane' methods without being too worried that there may be some discomfort.

I look at it as being just like a tiger (or other large predator sanctuary) hunting down a maneater.

At Friday, May 25, 2007 5:36:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

It's crazy to me that we're so worried about the slight discomfort over the last few minutes of death.

Ever been in a prison or a jail? I have. Even the good ones are hell.

SCOTUS cases show that we can inflict pain for prisoner control, when necessary. Seems to me that death penalty is the ultimate control measure. We should absolutely make it as painless as we reasonably can, but still make it effective. When I cuff a prisoner, sometimes it's very uncomfortable for him. I try not to break anything, and I make an effort not to hurt him, but if it's a question of whether he gets cuffed or not and whether he feels pain or not-- guess what? He's getting cuffed, one way or the other.

We can put men in prisons for LIFE.

We can put men in prisons where they stand a significant chance of being repeatedly sodomized. (Which, by the way, no court sanctioned, and no jury condemned them to...) But people shrug their shoulders and say "well, that's how it is." Frankly, as a cop and a criminal justice student practitioner, that's NOT RIGHT.

Death Row inmates generally get better oversight, reducing the inmate-on-inmate violence that seems to be inherent within the prisons. In that way, at least they're possibly treated better.

I'm sorry if it hurts a little when the needle goes in. I'm sorry if it feels wonky when the truth serum puts you into a coma. I'm sorry if it hurts a tad when your heart stops.

We at least [i]tried[/i] to find as humane a way as possible.


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