"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Monday, May 12, 2008

That Takes Care of That

Randall Lee Smith was paroled in 1996 after serving 14 years of a 30 year prison sentence for murdering Laura Ramsay and Robert Mountford Jr. in 1981 on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Ramsey and Mountford were hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise money for retarded and troubled youths. Ramsay, 27, was stabbed more than a dozen times and Mountford, also 27, was shot three times.

Recently Smith, 54, was charged with a number of felonies for shooting two men on the same stretch of the Appalachian Trail where he committed the murders:
[Smith was charged] in connection with the Tuesday night shootings of Sean Farmer of Tazewell and Scott Johnston of Bluefield, Va. The men were fishing and camping along Dismal Creek, just off the Appalachian Trail, when a visitor stopped by their campsite, police and Johnston's brother reported last week.
They fed the man a dinner of fresh trout and beans, after which he told them, "Guys, I got to get out of here" -- and pulled out a pistol and opened fire, Brian Johnston said. Both fishermen were wounded but escaped.

After leading police on a pursuit ending in a vehicle crash, Smith was arrested and awaiting trial in a local jail, where he died Saturday night of as-yet unknown causes.

"Upon hearing of Smith's death yesterday, Ginny Ramsay, mother of Laura Susan Ramsay, one of the hikers killed in 1981, said that she had only one thing to say: 'That takes care of that.'"

More evidence that the penal system does not render murderers incapable of doing harm, that at least one offender would have been deterred by use of the death penalty from destroying people's lives, and that there are far greater costs imposed on society by not executing such offenders than in executing them.

Just ask Sean Farmer and Scott Johnston.

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