Remember the victims in death penalty debate

Missing from Attorney Kevin O’Connell’s passionate letter about Andre Deputy [“Death penalty is not justice,” May 12] are even the names of his victims, or anything about the crime. The good counselor would cynically erase the names and stories of an elderly couple, because their existence would distract us with facts from the cause of abolishing capital punishment. Murderers, and those who plead for them, whether those killed by Stalin, Hitler, ISIL or simple community and street crimes, want us to forget the names of those they have killed; let us not oblige them.

Byard and Alberta Smith were found by their son Arthur near their home in Harrington, Delaware, back in 1979. Byard had been stabbed 79 times, primarily in the head and neck, and his wife was stabbed 66 times. Andre Deputy and William Henry Flamer had gained admission to the home by claiming they had word of a sickness in the Smith family. After the murders, the two ransacked the home, stealing items they could sell to buy alcohol.

To my mind, the “fix” is in. Even our cautious governor has come out against capital punishment, and our newspapers no longer even attempt to appear unbiased. In an era of endless court appeals, skewered media, rioters and looters taking advantage of tragedies to burn churches and old-age homes, where terrorists increasingly bomb and maim, our message is to that there should not be an ultimate penalty, and to have more compassion for murderers.

Remember the pusillanimous politicians and lawyers who say, “forget Byard and Alberta Smith, and have pity on Andre Deputy,” a man who showed no pity to his hapless victims. There is an old Talmudic saying that declares “Those who have compassion for the pitiless invariably demonstrate indifference towards the innocent.” That is what we have become. Remember Alberta and Byard Smith.

Larry Koch
Magnolia

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