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article imageOp-Ed: Serial Killer to die in April

By Alexander Baron     Jan 8, 2014 in Crime
After more than 12 years on death row, a date has been set for the execution of serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells: April 3.
The fixing of this date will come as a New Year's present to the families of his victims. Sadly, the execution dates for other monsters are way off.
When you study men like Tommy Lynn Sells, you really do have to wonder how some people can be opposed unconditionally to the death penalty under any circumstances. When the usual excuses don't apply: when there is no possibility of release ever, when there is absolutely no question about guilt, and where the crimes are both so manifold and so heinous that even case hardened detectives have been known to weep, how could any reasonable person object to the likes of fiend Ted Bundy, killer clown John Gacy or Mr Sells himself being expunged from the face of this planet?
Although he has been convicted only of one murder, he claims to have committed many more. It remains to be seen how much credence can be given to some of his claims, but there is no doubt that he was indeed responsible for others.
You can read a bit about him at the Crime Library, you can also find a nearly 50 minute documentary about him on YouTube which includes interviews with both Sells himself and the man who arrested him. Be warned though, this documentary is explicit. (There are several uploads of the same film, and their quality is variable).
In August, the State of Florida executed John Errol Ferguson who was described as a "mentally ill man," as though this were some mitigation or excuse. In 1977, Ferguson and two others murdered six people in a home invasion robbery; later, Ferguson murdered Brian Glenfeldt, raping the teenager's girlfriend Belinda Worley for good measure before shooting her too. Not everyone was taken in by the sob story of this poor mental defective; one woman started a petition for his execution.
John Ferguson
John Ferguson
prison photo
Alfredo Prieto has been sentenced to death in both California and Virginia, the latter in November 2010, the former as far back as 1992. The State of Virginia will have the privilege of executing him, that is if he doesn't die of old age first.
On death row in Connecticut are home-invasion killers Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky.
They murdered three people, but are technically not serial killers, although Hayes claims/boasts of committing other murders.
The sole survivor of the Cheshire home invasion massacre was Dr William Petit, who might well have died himself had he not managed to break out of the basement where Hayes and Komisarjevsky dumped him bound and beaten.
Dr Petit, who was the proud father of two beautiful daughters, remarried in 2012, and as of November last year is a father again, this time of a son; he has also established a foundation in the name of his first wife and Haley and Michaela. Though the memory of his first family will live on, so too will their killers; it will be years, possibly decades before Hayes and Komisarjevsky pay fully for their crimes.
The latest serial killer to be sentenced to death in the US is Harvey Miguel Robinson. Actually, that is not quite correct; Robinson was scheduled for execution in April 2006 but this date was stayed. However, at the end of last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed this decision.
Robinson is a candidate of sorts for the Guinness Book Of Records because he was not yet 18 when he committed his first known murder, that of a 29-year-old nurse's aide. Then he murdered a 15 year old girl, and finally a 47 year old grandmother — eclectic as well as precocious. All his victims were raped. He has definitely committed other crimes, including the rape and near murder of a five-year-old girl.
Robinson's lawyers have argued that he suffers from brain damage and therefore should not be executed; this non sequitur is trotted out regularly in such cases as with the "mentally ill" Ferguson.
It is ludicrous and obscene in equal measure that cases both as horrendous and as clear cut as these — multiple victims and overwhelming evidence — should be played out year in, year out, decade in, decade out.
Fortunately, serial killers and mass murderers make up a tiny percentage of the prison population, and once they have had due process with the one mandatory appeal there is no need to delay any execution. In April 1962, James Hanratty was executed less than two months after his conviction, and less than eight months after the A6 Murder. The doubling or trebling of that timetable in cases of serial murder would be more than reasonable. Prompt execution would also free up enormous resources both to allow speedier justice for others — accused and victims — and to invest time, manpower and money in dealing with ordinary prisoners, in particular those who can be reformed and sent forth back into the wide world where they will hopefully sin no more.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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