Thursday, December 15, 2011

"I need people to listen to me"

From today's Daily Record (an Ohio newspaper), "Testimony asks state to abolish death penalty; it creates 'more victims'":

COLUMBUS -- Twenty-seven years ago, Mary Jane Stout and her husband, Norman, allowed John David Stumpf and another man into their Guernsey County home to use the telephone.

In response, Stumpf shot and killed Mary Jane and attempted to kill her husband with repeated gunshots to the head.

That was in May 1984. Stumpf has been on Death Row since that year while his case works its way through the requisite state and federal appeals before an execution date is set.

On Wednesday, the couple's son asked state lawmakers to abolish Ohio's death penalty, saying the lengthy legal process has brought nothing but pain and constant reminders of the crime rather than closure.

"We need certainty, we need healing," Chris Stout told the House's criminal justice committee. "We need to not be hauled into court again and again for 27 years and ... traumatized over and over."

He added, "I need this system to stop, period. I need the death penalty to be over and I need people to listen to me when I say, do not do this to me or my family. Don't kill John David Stumpf because of me. We've been through enough, and we want it to end. All this system does is create more victims. ..."

Stout was one of more than a dozen people providing testimony in favor of legislation that would end capital punishment in the state.

Speakers included former Death Row inmates who were innocent of the charges against them, attorneys who talked about the costs and inequity in administering the death penalty and family members of murder victims who said the system is not working.

Read the full article.

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