It is at the very heart of our traditional culture and our traditional faith and it is heartening to read this article in the Washington Post recognizing that.
The case described here is also that which completely meets the definition of “A Special Penalty for Special Cases” the name of the chapter in the new book, Stay of Execution: Saving the Death Penalty from Itself, offering a listing of those crimes which fully deserve capital punishment.
An excerpt from the book.
“Genocidaires and terrorists occupy the top level of a death deserving hierarchy whose next levels should probably be reserved for serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer or those who murder multiple victims in a single criminal act. Depraved individual killings—premeditated murders involving torture, murders of small children, sadistic rape-murders and other deeds that “shock the conscience,”…—also belong on the death-eligible list. And in 28 of the 35 death penalty states, capital offenses include murders that are,… ‘especially heinous, atrocious, cruel, or depraved (or involved torture).’” (p. 109)
An excerpt from the Washington Post article.
“We all owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. William Petit who, in his extreme hour of grief, taught us a valuable lesson about the nature of evil, forgiveness, and the problem of suffering.
“No, not what you would expect. In speaking of the man convicted of killing his wife and two daughters, Petit did not deliver an amoral, slobbering speech about forgiving his wife and daughters' murderer and how all suffering teaches us some valuable lesson, enriching us in the process. On the contrary, he said that the murderer deserved his sentence of death and that the loss of his family would leave a gaping hole in his heart that would never close.
“What a relief. Finally someone who does not excuse gross evil, who refuses to forgive monstrous acts of human cruelty, and who says that suffering is not only not redeeming but leaves a permanent wound that never heals.
“The facts of the case are by now well known. On Nov. 8, 2010, Steven Hayes was convicted of murdering Petit's wife Jennifer Hawke-Petit and received the death penalty. The jury found him guilty for his crimes in a horrific home invasion in Cheshire, Connecticut in 2007 that killed Hawke-Petit and her two daughters. Hayes reportedly raped and choked Hawke-Petit to death while his accomplice Joshua Komisarjevsky is accused of sexually assaulting 11-year-old Michaela and her older sister Hayley who were tied to their beds and raped. Gasoline was then poured on all three victims and the house was set on fire. The verdict was unanimous and came on day four of deliberations.
“Tuesday, on the courthouse steps Dr. William Petit, who was savagely beaten in the attack but survived, said this: "We thank the jury for their diligence and consideration. We feel that it was an appropriate verdict. There is some relief, but my family is still gone. It doesn't bring them back. It doesn't bring back the home that we had."