Tuesday October 16, 2012

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare.

This time it happened in Westminster, Colorado, where the body of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway was discovered after she disappeared during the middle of the day. There seems to be no clear suspect and, hauntingly, the circumstances surrounding this abduction and brutal murder remind us here in Massachusetts of a child predator named Lewis Lent Jr.

If there’s any light at the end of the tunnel for the Ridgeway family, it’s that the state of Colorado has not abolished the death penalty. When that slithering snake is finally found, who hurt Jessica, justice will be served.

Not so in the case of Lewis Lent Jr., who was tried and convicted both in Massa chusetts and New York for the deaths of 12-year-old Jimmy Bernardo and Sara Anne Woods, in separate incidents.

Their deaths were similar to that of Jessica’s. Yet the killer here still savors three square meals a day, a comfortable bed, a roof over his head, medical provisions and full-time security.

That’s right, Lent is kept in solitary confinement, because the rest of the prison population would kill him in a heartbeat if given the opportunity. There are some crimes that even the worst convicts won’t tolerate.

What’s my point? Read these two excerpts below from the ProCon State Death Penalty Website.

In both cases, a conservative governor, elected by the people of New York, and a conservative decision, voted on by the people of Massachusetts, were overturned by liberal judges. When you vote for liberal politicians, who then appoint liberal judges, you are indirectly voting for three square meals a day for monsters like Lewis Lent Jr., who deserve the same end as their victims.

Think about the consequences. Think about the Woods, and the Bernardos and now the Ridgeways.

Don’t turn your back on their grief in November. Vote for the most conservative candidate on the ballot. Otherwise the precious tax dollars you feel so good about paying are providing health benefits to those who couldn’t care less about the health of their innocent, defenseless, victims.

New York, 1995: Capital punishment was reinstated by Governor Pataki in 1995 post-Furman, and ruled unconstitutional in the state court’s People v. Lavalle 2004 decision. The 2007 decision People v. Taylor found part of the sentencing statute unconstitutional and no defendants may be sentenced to death until the statute is corrected. Governor Paterson issued an executive order in 2008 to remove all capital punishment equipment from Green Haven Correc tional Facility in 2008. The death penalty has not been abolished by law and may be used if the unconstitutional sentencing statute is revised by legislature.

Massachusetts, 1984: Capital punishment was reinstated by voter amendment in 1982 post-Furman. The law establishing capital punishment was ruled unconstitutional in 1984 with state court case Common wealth v. Colon-Cruz.

JAMES MASSERY

Pittsfield