Letter to Editor: Death sentences should be reserved for when it is right


Lately there is a lot of talk about the death sentence and its fairness. I would like to give what the Bible says about the death sentence. Genesis 9:4-5 gives us what the Most High says about someone killing another person without justification. The killer was to be put to death by the government (Romans 13).

In the book of Leviticus, there are several qualifiers that must be met before the death penalty could be carried out. The one I want to focus on is found in Numbers 35:29-34. These verses tell us that before an alleged murderer could be sentenced to death, two witnesses must agree on every aspect of what they saw. One person's statement is not enough to put someone to death. Deuteronomy 19:15-21 gives us more insight into this witness law. It says two agreeing witnesses must agree on what they saw before someone could be put to death, and if a false witness testified against someone and it was determined to be a lie, then the punishment that was to be placed on the accused should be carried out on the false witness.

It is a known fact that during a violent incident, we sometimes see things or people that are not correct. When I was shot, I told the FBI the shooter shot me with a 9mm, and I gave a description of the shooter. I was wrong on both counts. I was shot with a .38 revolver, and the description I gave was no way near accurate.

What about DNA evidence? That could be one of the witnesses used to place the accused at the scene. But you still only have one; we must have two. Without two agreeing witnesses, no one should be put to death. We have seen or read about egregious court cases of innocent people sent to jail for a considerable amount of time on erroneous charges or false lab reports.

The death penalty was not meant to be a deterrent because it does not work as a deterrent. Evil people will kill for the gruesome fun of watching someone else die. The death penalty is meant as punishment/payment for taking an innocent life. Some of those on death row killed their victims in hideous and brutal ways. But now they want the compassion and sympathy they refused to give their victims. Dylann Roof killed in a premeditated and heartless manner. But now wants compassion.

As a supposed civilized society, we should ensure the accused has the best possible representation during a trial. And when police and/or prosecutors conspire to send innocent people to jail, they should be punished. Putting someone to death or life behind bars for something they did not do should be so unthinkable.

I still support the death sentence, but the accused must have a fair and just trial with two agreeing witnesses or a freely given confession with supporting evidence. If this cannot be met and there is adequate circumstantial evidence pointing to him or her as the guilty party, then they should be sentenced to the appropriate amount of time in prison up to and including life.