Opinion By J1 Reporter Caitlyn Virgillito
I am a firm believer in capital punishment. Although it is against my Catholic faith, I think it is fair punishment and benefits the United States. According to Robert B. Evnen, JD, Attorney and Co-founder of Nebraskans for the Death Penalty, in 2015 it was $1.3 million cheaper to put a criminal to death rather than house them in jail for the rest of their life, paying for their food, water, shelter, health care, dental care, and other basic needs. Why should a first degree murderer live if they took away someone else’s life? A life for a life may sound harsh but it’s what I believe.
Keeping capital punishment legal can serve as a deterrent. Future criminals could be satisfied with jail time, but the death penalty would keep them away from crime for good. The death penalty can also give the victim’s family closure.
My mom is a teacher at Kellom Elementary in north Omaha. She was teaching second grade in November of 2000 when one of her students, Tramar Chandler, was murdered, along with his sister, Latara, who was also raped. Their mother, Judy, was beaten and left outside in a field to die. They were killed by the mother’s boyfriend, Arthur Lee Gales Jr., who was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.
He is currently in the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution, along with Nikko Jenkins, but it shouldn’t take this long for justice. It has been 17 years and Judy has had to live without her children, while Gales just sits in jail. He should be executed so she can find closure. She will never see her children again. Gales was convicted of sexual assault on a minor, two charges of first degree murder, and one charge of attempted second degree murder.
Nikko Jenkins is a serial killer from Nebraska as well. After already serving 10 and a half years in prison he was released, and within a year, he murdered four innocent people. He should receive the death penalty, four lives were taken and Jenkins deserves to pay for his crimes. He obviously didn’t learn his lesson in prison the 10 and a half years, so receiving a life sentence isn’t going to convert a criminal much more. The victims’ families need the closure and comfort of Jenkins receiving his just punishment.
Even though the death penalty is cruel to some, it’s justice. Capital punishment is necessary in our country to serve as a deterrent and save taxpayer dollars. It previously cost more to house a criminal in jail than it does to carry out with capital punishment. The death penalty is a controversial subject but I believe it should stay legal and be used, when necessary.