I am compelled to comment on Trisha Murakawa’s column in the 12/02/10 issue. I would suggest that Ms. Murakawa acquaint herself with some death row inmates and their crimes. May I first suggest Stephen Rockwell convicted out of Ventura County. Mr. Rockwell and an associate of his kidnapped a young lady in the San Fernando Valley and took her up into the mountains of Ventura County where they proceeded to torture her and rape her. For their entertainment afterwards they recorded her agony. She pleaded with them to let her go and finally they killed her and recorded her final moments. The court reporter who reported the case told me the tape was so horrific that he found himself crying while it was played in court. We court reporters are a hardened bunch, having heard many many tales of torture and murder. A tape that made my friend cry must have been horrific indeed. Mr. Rockwell later had his death sentence commuted by Justice Rose Bird and her cohorts who made history by being among a select group of California Supreme Court justices who were turned out of office.

    Charles Manson who recently made news by being found with a contraband cell phone is another recipient of the death penalty who had his sentence overturned by the misguided Ms. Bird.

    Ms Muranaka might want to acquaint herself with the case of Robert Cruz McLain . Mr. McLain first fell into significant legal trouble when he molested two young girls in Ventura. Sentenced to state prison he vowed to seek revenge on the girls’ mother who testified against him. Upon release from state prison he made his way from San Quintin, I believe it was, down the coast to Ventura County to carry out his vow. In Santa Cruz he met up with a young lady. He and his friends were accused of raping and murdering her. Upon reaching Ventura County, Mr. McLain found another unfortunate young lady who met the same ghastly fate as the woman in Santa Cruz. Mr. McLain didn’t have the good fortune of Mr. Manson or Mr. Rockwell. He still sits on death row.

    Then there was the defendant who chopped up his card playing friend when he didn’t like the cards he was dealt. It was only through the miracle of modern medicine that his friend didn’t die as a result of the vicious attack. He was so scary an individual that his defense attorney was frightened of him. He was arrested again upon release. The local newspaper was crying how terrible it was that he was going to be a three strikes “victim” when he was accused of raping his cellmate while awaiting trial for the offense that put him in jail to begin with. The chopped up friend survived — kind of — the only answer he could give to any question was, “Yes.” The district attorney argued to the jury that the last time he said, “No,” he was so badly injured, his deep down psyche resolved he would only respond “yes” to anything said to him.

    Then there was the other defendant who with a few days of being released from prison for child molestation kidnapped a three year old girl from her grandmother’s fenced in front yard. He raped her and tortured her to death with a pair of vice grips. Unless he has died of old age on death row, he still sits there.

    The death penalty isn’t about deterence. It is about recidivism. Once executed, a killer can never kill again. He is done. Life without possibility of parole is nothing. Our prisoners in prison have a right to be safe from killer prisoners. Our prison guards have a right to be safe from killer prisoners. Putting a killer in prison means nothing. What more is society going to do to them? Put them in prison for two lifetimes?

    I notice that you don’t seem to have a letter to the editor section in your newspaper. I wonder why that is? You wonder what is wrong with your paper that your circulation is continually dwindling. I also notice that the only regular writer to your paper who might be considered conservative is George Yoshinaga. I wonder if there is a correlation between the rather liberal bent of most of your writers and your dwindling readership.

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