We’ve had enough victims. Enough murdered children.
Jetseta Gage. Evelyn Miller. Donnisha Hill. Lyric Cook-Morrissey. Elizabeth Collins.
And more. We recall 10-year-old Pamela Powers of Urbandale, abducted from a Des Moines YMCA while watching her brother compete in a wrestling tournament on Christmas Eve 1968 and murdered. Ashley Lucas, 8, of Cresco, strangled along with her mother, Angela Hyke, by a Kansas carnival worker in 2001.
It is time to, at the very least, discuss reinstating the death penalty in Iowa for child rape and/or murder.
State Sen. Kent Sorenson is looking to unveil the legislation in the session that starts in January.
The Milo Republican said his proposal is prompted by the deaths of Elizabeth and her cousin Lyric, whose bodies were found by hunters Dec. 5 in a wildlife area near Readlyn.
In a new development, Sorenson and Gov. Terry Branstad will be meeting tomorrow with Drew Collins (Elizabeth’s father), Addonis Hill and Noreen Gosch to speak about the death penalty.
Hill is the father of Donnisha Hill who was kidnapped in Waterloo and murdered in Illinois in 2006. Gosch is the mother of Johnny Gosch, a boy from West Des Moines who has been missing since 1982.
If the person who killed the cousins knew he or she could face death if convicted, Elizabeth and Lyric might not have been killed, Sorenson said.
Someone who kidnaps or rapes "at that point has nothing else to lose," the lawmaker said. "They’re going to face life in prison so they have no reason at that point to let (the victim) live."
Iowa repealed capital punishment in 1965. State law allows life sentences for convictions of murder and the most serious cases of sexual assault and kidnapping.
We understand the arguments against the death penalty — the moral issues, the chance that the wrong person may be convicted and the "vengeance is mine saith the Lord" argument — that it’s not society’s place to take a human life. Also, that the inevitable stream of court appeals will be more expensive to the taxpayer than incarcerating a convicted murderer for life. Or, the argument that the death penalty may simply gratify a disturbed individual’s death wish.
However, there are crimes which in our view, cry out to heaven for vengeance. And there is no crime more heinous than the rape or murder of a child. Also, there may be some public good in requiring the death penalty of a person who is beyond rehabilitation and has the potential to re-offend.
We see nothing wrong with making one statement loud an clear: If you rape a child, if you kill a child, you face the ultimate penalty.
However, it is a topic certainly open for debate and it should be discussed in the Iowa Legislature.
We would like to see these parents address a full Statehouse.