Archive for May 13th, 2005

From the NY Times, which had the curious headline Connecticut Carries Out Its First Execution in 45 Years:

SOMERS, Conn., May 13 – Connecticut carried out its first execution in 45 years early today, administering a lethal injection to Michael Bruce Ross, a convicted serial killer who abandoned his appeals and died willingly after 18 years on death row.

Michael Bruce Ross.

About 300 death penalty opponents held vigil in the cold and dark outside the rural complex of state prisons where a warden led Mr. Ross to the execution chamber and an unidentified executioner began administering a lethal injection into his arm shortly after the scheduled 2:01 a.m. execution time.

"Death occurred at 2:25 a.m. on this day," Christine Whidden, the warden of one of the prisons, Robinson Correctional Institution, announced five minutes afterwards.

Mr. Ross, 45, had sought that fatal moment for nearly a year.

In defiance of public defenders and others who wanted to save him, he chose to forgo further appeals of his death sentence last year. He said he wanted to ease the pain of the families of the eight teenage girls and young women he strangled in the early 1980’s. He raped most of his victims.

A graduate of Cornell University and a former life insurance salesman, Mr. Ross convinced judges he was competent, smirked at psychiatrists who said he was suicidal and often seemed exasperated by his inability to reshape his image.

"I am not an animal," he once wrote.

In the final moments before his execution on Friday morning, however, he did not attempt to explain himself. He kept his eyes closed and never looked through the glass at those witnessing his death.

300 anti-death penalty people held vigil outside. I find several things perplexing about this whole thing.

  • The news here is not so much that it is the state’s first execution in 45 years, but that the felon wanted to be executed and, despite the legality, everyone seemed intent on preventing this rapist and murderer from serving his sentence.
  • Are the protesters pro-life? Many aren’t-ending the death penalty is a pet cause of ACLU liberals.
  • If they aren’t pro-life, why is a convicted violent murderer’s life more important than an innocent baby’s?
I will admit to being ambivalent about the death penalty. I won’t support it for the sake of consistency (and, I suppose, a desire to see evil people suffer for decades instead of taking an easy way out) but I also do not see it holding the same significance as other life and death issues we face today. While I recognize the inherent risk of executing innocent people, there are far more innocent people dying over other issues that anti-death penalty folk turn a blind eye to.

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