I was recently watching a documentary on Wanda Jean Allen, the first black woman to be executed in the US since 1954. She was killed Jan. 11, 2001, by lethal injection.
Allen killed her then girlfriend Gloria Leathers in front of an Oklahoma police station.
It was a crime of passion stemming from an argument at a grocery store on Dec. 11, 1988.
That wasn’t the first person Allen had killed. She had previously received a four-year prison sentence for first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Detra Pettus on June 29, 1981.
In that case, Allen claimed she was defending a friend.
Since she was a two-time killer, most people would agree to put her to death.
I have mixed feelings about the death penalty. I don’t think any person has the right to take the life of anyone, and I don’t think the law has that right either.
I’m not saying that street justice should handle these crimes, but who actually has the authority to take life, except for God?
I don’t think the government should’ve taken Allen’s life. They should have kept her behind bars. She was a high school dropout with a criminal record.
It wasn’t known that at the age of 16, Allen had an IQ of 69, making her mentally retarded. So the question is, did she know right from wrong? Was there any treatment or assistance for her mental disability?
Since no tests were run and no documentation was ever recorded, we will never know.
I know taxpayers are boggled by the amount of money it takes to care for inmates, but does it give the governor the right to give people the thumbs up or down on their lives?
I understand the governor has to make those hard decisions of letting people live or die, but can he or she at least try to imagine being in the shoes of an inmate on Death Row?
What would a governor say to the person he or she has the legal power to kill? I guess that’s something he or she has to deal with when they go to sleep at night.
I know it’s a tough job as a government official to grant or take away life, and you can’t handle each case individually. But a person who is defending themselves can’t be judged in the same light as a serial killer.
When a person who has only defended himself, what crime has he or she really committed?
How can the law turn its back on them?
I don’t think you need to throw out the death penalty completely, but look at the cases closely.
I believe certain crimes do deserve execution. You should castrate child molesters and rapists and lethally inject serial killers.
Rapists, child molesters, and serial killers have no justification for what they’ve done.
The more heinous the crime, the harder the punishment should be.
Corbin Robinson is a junior newspaper journalism student from Milwaukee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.