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Arkansas executions spark debate over death penalty

by George Boria - Copy Editor
Thu, Apr 27th 2017 09:40 pm

Those of us living in New York will (hopefully) never have to brave the emotional trauma of knowing someone who has been sentenced to the death penalty. Since 2007, New York has banned the death penalty. However, some states do not appreciate the value of life as much as New York does. One such state is Arkansas. Arkansas is one of the 30 states in the United States that still executes the death penalty. 

In its defense though, according to The Washington Post article, "Could Arkansas' battle over the death penalty signal the beginning of its end?" by Amber Phillips, it has been 12 years since someone has been executed and the Arkansas executioners are itching for a fresh kill worse than heroin junkies experiencing a withdrawal.

For the past 17 years, there have been numerous people sentenced to death in Arkansas. Since early April, Arkansas officials have been trying to execute eight of the inmates on death row, all convicted of capital murder. On Monday, April 17, the Supreme Court ruled that two of the criminals, are not to be executed quite yet. 

However, according to The Washington Post article, "With lethal injection drugs expiring, Arkansas plans unprecedented seven executions in 11 days" by Mark Berman, the delay of the euthanization is seen as unacceptable to the murder victim's families. 

"The victims' families have waited far too long to see justice for their loved ones," a spokesman for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge told The Washington Post after one of the executions was called off. 

"We'd like for it to happen before all of us die ourselves," Genie Boren, whose husband was murdered by Kenneth Williams, said. "You know, you wait that many years, you're just waiting and waiting and waiting. I'm not sitting around thinking it's going to happen for sure, but this is closer than we've ever gotten."

While it may be true that the families have been waiting over a decade to receive justice for the murders of their loved ones, the death penalty will not make anyone feel any better. Killing your loved one's killer will not bring them back and it will not make you miss them any less. 

In an article on deathpenaltyinfo.org, "New Voices - Victims' Families", a great number of families have stated that they've regretted their loved one's killers being executed.

In 2014, Jeff Ferguson was executed for the rape and murder of Kelli Hall. At first Hall's father Jim Hall expressed gratification that his daughter's killer was now gone. However, later in a op-ed in the Columbia Daily Tribune, he said that his family has "come to deeply regret [Ferguson's] execution." 

Hall isn't the only person to come out and express regret after the death penalty was executed. There have been a number of cases in which people have expressed remorse for the executions. Take it, if not from me, from people who have experienced it first hand. The death penalty doesn't solve anyone's problems.

gbori1@brockport.edu

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