On the morning of September 8th, 2013, an Ohioan mother who had been dealt the worst blow any parent could have lived through, woke up knowing that her daughter’s murder would finally be vindicated. This knowledge would quickly get dashed though. Soon she would get word that the execution of her daughter’s killer would be stayed for the, now, third time. Heartbroken and confused, she asked what the reason behind the next in a series of postponements, which had only gone on to increase her stress and remind her of the terrible pain she had endured and been living with since she heard the news of her daughter’s vicious murder. Certainly this was another legal issue. Another lawyer had put into question the sanity of the murderer, or something along those lines, just as with the other delays. Not this time, though. This time it was for another reason. This time was for a reason that made less sense than any of the other excuses she had heard leading up to the day. She had no idea what to say when she was told that the Attorney General had requested for the Governor to stay the execution so she could attend a fundraising event meant to fund her reelection campaign…in November of 2014.
This woman, who had supported the so-called “Timely Justice Act” intended to accelerate the death penalty process in Florida, had just added another level stress to the victim’s mother. Not only had she selfishly moved a state event to allow her to attend a personal fundraising event, but she did so at the cost of the tax-payers who had already been burdened with paying for the accused’s room, board, and appeals process. Luckily, she was able to raise over $166,000 at the event. All of this only cost the Florida taxpayers an additional $1,000 to the department of corrections (the amount that it costs the tax-payers in public finance contributions would end up being an additional $200,000).
The $1,000 was a drop in the bucket compared to what Floridian’s had already payed to house and feed a serial rapist, and murderer. After all, they only pushed the execution back 21 days, which was a minute amount of time since his conviction had occurred over two decades prior. It was also 21 extra days the victim’s mother had to live with knowledge that her daughter’s killer was still alive…while her daughter wasn’t. Americans are protected from cruel and unusual punishment. To extend one mother’s uncertainty and stress by any amount of time because one person wanted to add more money to her already over a half a million in savings is the cruelest punishment a government can dole out to someone who had lived through the cruelest punishment the universe can dole out. It is no wonder the victim’s mother’s only response to the news was, “It’s ridiculous.”
Matt Wright is a writer and political activist living in south Florida. He has a BS in communications and is currently working for the Bill Wohlsifer for Attorney General campaign. To hear more from Matt you can follow him on Twitter at @mrwright79 or Like him on Facebook.