Inhumane executions must stop

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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In January, the state of Ohio put Dennis McGuire to death. Choking, with his body clenching, Mr. McGuire took 25 minutes to die. Prior to the execution, an anesthesiologist said the combination of drugs being used would cause "air hunger" — extreme difficulty in breathing, which would cause Mr. McGuire "great terror." Also prior to the execution, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Madden stated, "You're not entitled to a pain-free execution."

In April, the state of Oklahoma put Clayton Lockett to death. It took Mr. Lockett more than 40 minutes to die. He died of a heart attack after the executioners decided they had blown the attempt to kill Mr. Lockett and tried to revive him. After an autopsy, there were questions about the skill levels of those carrying out the execution. There were multiple puncture wounds and hemorrhages indicating that the executioners were clueless about their task. The state of Oklahoma refused to address the issue, claiming privacy needs of their employees.

This month, the state of Arizona put Joseph Rudolph Wood to death. Mr. Wood took nearly two hours to die. He gasped and snorted for more than an hour. An AP reporter who witnessed the execution stated that Mr. Wood gasped more than 600 times. Tom Hayden, a KSAZ reporter who also witnessed the execution said he was like a "fish gulping for air." Governor Jan Brewer announced, "One thing is certain, however: Inmate Wood died in a lawful manner."

Judge Alex Kosinski, Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, calls executions "brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that." Thankfully Illinois no longer puts prisoners to death in the name of justice.

My thanks to state Rep. Karen Yarbrough and state Sen. Kwame Raoul for sponsoring the bill to abolish the death penalty in our state. Thanks to Governor Quinn for signing it on March 9, 2011.

Thanks also to state representatives Camille Lilly and LaShawn K. Ford and state senators Kimberly Lightford and Don Harmon for voting for the bill.

Tom Broderick

Oak Park

Reader Comments

7 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Leroy from West Austin  

Posted: August 9th, 2014 11:09 PM

Good thing the monster dead. The story kinda remind me of the movie Green Mile, where one execution dont go so good. Another good thing he didn't have a gun, otherwise he could have shot the victims too.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 9th, 2014 10:36 PM

...and thanks to former IL Governor Ryan for putting the intial moratorium on executions. A significant number of Illinois deathrow inmates have since been found wrongly convicted. Is it just an urban myrh that, after the required appeals processes leading to an execution, it's actually cheaper to incarcerate for a life term? For all we know, we could be rewarding a criminal with death from this world, and not punishing. Jail time should certainly be made less attractive, though.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: August 9th, 2014 9:59 PM

this man stabbed a woman to death and also raped and sodomized her... I have little sympathy that he experienced some discomfort during his death.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: August 9th, 2014 9:57 PM

cont. The coroner's office also took vaginal, oral, and anal swabs. The coroner found an abundant amount of sperm on the anal swab, some sperm on the vaginal swab, and none on the oral swab. The coroner indicated that sperm could be detected in the vagina for days or sometimes weeks after ejaculation; however, sperm in the rectum could be detected for a lesser time "because the environment is fairly hostile for sperm, and a bowel movement usually will purge the rectum of any sperm."

joe from south oak park  

Posted: August 9th, 2014 9:54 PM

cont. The critical wound was a four-and-a-half-inch-deep cut in the throat, which completely severed the carotid artery and jugular vein. The doctor determined that Joy was alive when she received the wound, and that such a wound could have been caused by a single-edged blade shorter than four and a half inches, due to "how soft and moveable the tissues are in the neck." The autopsy also revealed abrasions around the neck, impressed with the cloth pattern of Joy's shirt.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: August 9th, 2014 9:52 PM

from murderpedia.org : two hikers found the body of Joy Stewart in some woods near Bantas Creek. The front of her shirt was saturated with blood. One deputy sheriff at the scene, Larry Swihart, also noted that there appeared to be a "blood wipe mark" on her right arm. The body was taken to the Montgomery County Coroner's Office, where an autopsy was performed. The autopsy revealed that Joy had been stabbed twice. One wound, located above the left collarbone, caused no significant injury.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 7th, 2014 8:38 AM

My youngest brother was a reporter for the Laramie WY paper when Utah executed Gary Gillmore several decades ago. He was a young, high ideals, liberal reporter at the time and believed in not executing anyone, for any reason. The execution was, at Gillmores request, by firing squad. After it was over my brother claimed that the net worth of humanity went up when Gillmore ceased living. There are those who choose not to live in our society or by our rules and forfeit their right to life. Who is speaking for their victims and their families? BTW the execution was instantaneous, absolute and final!

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