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Shed your tears for Mary Phillips & Stacy Errickson
dennis Wyatt web
Dennis Wyatt

I cry not for Jack Jones. Nor do I shed a tear for Marcel Williams.

My tears are for Mary Phillips and Stacy Errickson.

Jones and Williams were executed last month by the state of Arkansas.

Jones raped and then murdered Phillips during a botched robbery at an accounting office in 1995. He also beat Phillips' 11-year-old daughter so savagely that law enforcement officials were stunned when she suddenly moved when crime scene photos were being taken.

Errickson - a 22-year-old mother of two - had stopped for gas in 1994 when Williams forced his way into her car at gunpoint, robbed her, raped her and then dumped her body in a shallow grave. Errickson was not Williams' first victim. He had attacked women previously.

Endless bytes in the cyber world, non-stop sound bites, and countless words have been typed over the inhumanity that the sate of Arkansas is committing by carrying out executions.

It's been over 22 years since the two men - if you can call them that given they committed heinous acts more fitting to rabid dogs than anyone who considers themselves a human being - were convicted and sentenced to die.

Their respective lawyers argued that their clients should be spared being put to death because they were in ill health. That's right. The opponents of the death penalty are basically arguing the state shouldn't be allowed to execute anyone unless they nurse them back to good health. It reflects the twisted logic in 2003 of another lawyer who tried unsuccessfully to get the court to order the administration of drug treatments designed to make a death row inmate sane discontinued so the state of Arkansas could not execute Charles Laverne Singleton. If any death penalty opponents would care to know, Singleton stabbed grocery store owner Mary Lou York to death in 1984 during a robbery by plunging a knife repeatedly into her neck.

Jones was on insulin, had diabetes and high blood pressure, suffered from neuropathy, and was on heavy pain medication. He also had a leg amputated below his knee.

His lawyer argued Jones could suffer a "torturous death" as the medication he took may render him resistant to the execution drugs.

One wonders what the lawyer would call Phillips' death at the hands of his client. The odds are she would have preferred to live at least another 22 years even if she had developed diabetes, high blood pressure, and other issues instead of being raped and killed as well as her 11 year-old daughter beaten to the edge of death.

Williams, we are told, at 400 pounds may make finding a vein problematic.

He certainly had no problem finding Errickson's windpipe after he raped her.

Neither Jones nor Williams have ever been quoted as saying they inquired about the health of their victims before they executed them nor did they show any concern the women they killed suffered gasping for their last breaths as they administered death sentences while acting as judge, jury, and executioner.

They decided two women had no right to live. There was no appeal of their decision.

I realize there are those that are against the death penalty as they believe it is inhumane. I would argue murdering in cold blood as in a first degree murder conviction with special circumstances that is needed for a death sentence is inhumane as well. That said, I have no problem putting down a rabid dog.

The "state", they say, has no right to take a life. Yet that is exactly what those on death row have done.

To argue two wrongs don't make a right is a tad shallow. There is a huge difference between the two acts.

In order to gain residency on death row you have to meet a lot of conditions that separate you from garden variety killers who get convicted for second degree, manslaughter or even first degree murder without special circumstances.

At the end of a day it is a moral question.

And it is not simply a case of whether we should value the life of a convicted cold blooded murderer more than their victims.

It is whether egregious acts that rip into the fabric of orderly behavior and laws that are spun to strengthen the fabric of civilization should be answered with penalties that reflect the act committed.

It is doubtful that the death penalty serves as a deterrent. You could even argue that at one time the death penalty encouraged murder given several states had laws that being convicted of rape could lead to the execution of the perpetuator.

But that said it is fairly common for criminals to kill to avoid punishment for their deeds which is basically imprisonment.

Using the deterrent standard then we should toss out prison sentences along with the death penalty.

At the end of the day it is about justice. It is about civilization.

The penalty must fit the crime.
Mary Phillips and Stacy Errickson did not deserve to die. They committed no crime nor did they aggrieve their murderers.

If they got death for being innocent it's pretty clear what needs to be the fitting punishment for Jack Jones and Marcel Williams.

It demands death.

Shed your tears for innocent lives lost, not for those who spend 20 years trying to convince everyone society is evil for having state ordered executions after they made it clear where they stand on the death penalty when they were the ones calling the shots.

This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.