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WASHINGTON - JULY 26: Mark Lunsford (L) was on hand for a rally in support of the Children's Safety Act (H.R.3132) July 26, 2005 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Part of the bill is named after Lunsford's daughter, Jessica (in photo at right), who was kidnapped and killed earlier this year by registered sex offender. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

At approximately 3:00 AM on the morning of February 24, 2005, convicted sex offender John Couey, abducted 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford from her bedroom.

He took her to a nearby house that he shared with two other women. He raped the nine year old in his bedroom that night and again the next morning.

He ordered her to remain in a closet while he went to work that morning— she did as she was told.

Three days later Couey tricked Jessica into getting into two garbage bags telling her that he was taking her home and didn’t want anyone seeing them together.

He then buried her alive in a shallow grave where authorities believed she suffocated within a few minutes.

A month later authorities found her body in a shallow grave. She had managed to claw a hole through the bag and got two fingers out before dying.

Jessica’s Law

This act caused nationwide outrage and was the genesis of Jessica’s Law, which states that abuse of a child under the age of 12 carries a mandatory 25-year sentence even for a first offense.

John Couey was sentenced to death for his crime but died of natural causes before the sentence could be carried out.

This is the type of crime that many people feel the death penalty was designed for.

An innocent child trusting an adult, not realizing what was happening to her, and murdered horribly.

If I had been on that jury and heard his detailed confession I doubt I would have any problem recommending the death penalty.

Innocent After Being Proved Guilty

We see many people who were convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. DNA testing has exonerated many people who were positively identified by eyewitnesses and sentenced to long prison terms.

This type of injustice seems to happen more times than most of us would like.

Usually it’s minorities who don’t have the resources to provide a robust defense for themselves that are victims of these miscarriages of justice.

Some Final Thoughts

As you can see finding a comfortable position on the death penalty is not easy. There are many things to ponder.

Justice may be blind but she is also not always fair, or just, depending on whom is standing in front of her.

We find people innocent when there is something called reasonable doubt. It doesn’t say absolutely no doubt.

Where do you come down on the death penalty?

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