November 9, 2010
Convicted triple murderer Steven Hayes becomes the 10th inmate on Connecticut's death row with a jury's decision that he be executed. Now an interminable period of reviews and appeals begins.
It is wrong to take a life, except in self-defense. What, then, justifies a civilized society taking someone's life? Revenge on this twisted individual? Is that the call from our better nature? The process will put family and friends of the victims through the horrors of the Petit murders again and again.
Putting Mr. Hayes in a cell with no possibility of parole for the rest of his life — he's 47 — would be a less expensive and more appropriate punishment. Considering that this state has executed only one person in the past 45 years, he is more likely to die of old age than of lethal injection anyway.
It's hard to know, even after the lengthy trial, if Mr. Hayes really comprehends the enormity of his vile acts. If his warped mental capacity blocks his awareness — if he is crazy, to put it bluntly — then he would be unfairly killed. If he does have some recognition that he committed one of the worst crimes in Connecticut's history, then putting him out of his misery would almost be doing him a favor. Isn't it better that he should live with the consequences of his act?
The death penalty won't bring closure to anything except Mr. Hayes' physical life. Instead of dragging him out for an appeal hearing every few years or so, it would be better to put him away where he will never be heard from again.
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