Murderer's rights

Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Adam Liptak reports in today's New York Times about judges who are establishing roadblocks to the lethal injection method of execution in death penalty cases.

According to the story, Willie Brown Jr. was convicted in 1983 of murdering Vallerie Ann Roberson Dixon, a convenience store employee. Brown had just been released from a Virginia prison after serving 17 years of an 80-year sentence for armed robbery and shooting a police officer in an effort to escape.

What Liptak doesn't say about Brown:

"At approximately 5:47 a.m. on the morning of March 6, 1983, a
Zip Mart convenience store on Main Street in Williamston, North
Carolina, where Ms. Dixon was supposed to be working as a clerk,
was reported empty. A patrolling police officer had seen Ms. Dixon
in the store less than thirty minutes prior to the report. Money from
the cash register and a store safe was missing, as was Ms. Dixon’s
automobile. A search for Ms. Dixon was immediately begun.

At about 6:20 a.m., a police officer spotted Ms. Dixon’s automobile
traveling on a nearby road. The automobile was stopped by police
officers, and Brown, who was driving alone in the vehicle, was immediately
placed under arrest and advised of his rights. A .32 caliber sixshot
revolver, a paper bag containing approximately $90 in cash and
change, and a change purse containing Ms. Dixon’s drivers license
and social security card were found in the automobile. A pair of ski
gloves and a toboggan cap with eye holes cut out of it were found on
Brown’s person. The exterior of the car was partly covered with fresh
mud. According to the police officers, Brown admitted that he robbed
the Zip Mart and fled in Ms. Dixon’s car, but claimed that Ms. Dixon
was unharmed when he left the store

At approximately 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, Ms. Dixon’s body was
found on a muddy logging road in a rural area outside Williamston.
Forensic pathology and firearm tests revealed that Ms. Dixon had
been shot six times with the .32 caliber revolver that police had found
in Dixon’s car at the time of Brown’s arrest."

Liptak also doesn't mention this:

"In 1965, Brown was convicted in Virginia of five counts of armed
robbery and one count of felonious assault. The victim of the assault
was a Virginia police officer, who testified at the sentencing hearing
that he was shot and paralyzed when Brown shot him three times in
an attempt to avoid arrest."

So here we have a convicted murderer who pumped six shots into his victim, and who was also responsible for shooting and paralyzing a police officer. Pretty convenient leave-outs, right?

And I'm supposed to have sympathy for this guy because he might feel some pain during his execution?


Knucklehead said...

Can anyone 'splain to me this never ending hangup so many people seem to have about even the possibility of inflicting pain and suffering upon murdering scumbags?

The best I've ever been able to fathom is that at least one notion behind it is that, as a society, if we accept the willingness to inflict pain and suffering upon the worst of us we will eventually become inured to inflicting pain and suffering on all of us.

Clearly history does not bear this out. Once upon a time we had little or no compunction about inflicting pain and suffering upon even relatively minor criminals. Over time, however, we have continuously reduced the amoung of pain and suffering we were willing to inflict upon even the most heinous criminals until we have reached the point where we make real efforts to minimize at least the physical discomfort of capital punishment.

Luther McLeod said...

Welcome to "Flower Power."

Well, seriously, I think it is connected to 'victim hood'. It makes no difference your crime, no matter how despicable. You are still a human being. Deserving of all rights since Runnymede, carried to extreme. It really comes down to no one being responsible for their actions, does it not. Hence, we will make your departure hurt free. Its just another tactic at making capital punishment a bad thing.