Local Berkeley Countian Sidney Devonshire and other sincere citizens will be traveling to the State House in Charleston tomorrow at 2:30 PM to speak on the floor of the West Virginia House of Delegates in favor of the death penalty (HB 2526).
This debate about the death penalty in West Virginia is a profound public policy issue that should be weighed both prayerfully and carefully by all of us.
As a former prison case manager, my previous job duties and responsibilities included participating in "open" parole hearings. In these public hearings, families tearfully testified about the intensely personal and devastating effects to themselves and their families regarding heinous acts of murder, rape, and child abuse. Being a part of these hearings truly seared my soul. The nightmarish memories of these hearings continue to haunt my heart on behalf of all of these innocent victims.
Further, it was not so long ago that correctional officer Jeffrey Wroten was savagely murdered by an inmate who he was escorting to a local hospital for medical treatment. Jeffrey was my coworker, good friend, and member of my church in Berkeley County.
These and other similarly situated tragedies have helped persuade me that the public safety of ourselves, our families, and our children justly demand that murderers, rapists, and child abusers never should be eligible for parole.
However, what restitution does the death penalty bring to shattered lives?
Do we really want our state government to be complicit in the taking of another's life, whether that life be born or unborn?