Considering over the past few days most of the news coverage and discussions were dominated by the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, we may have overlooked the June 1, 2009 story about a killer and his fate, “In a unanimous decision the California Supreme Court Monday rejected a laundry list of appeals by convicted killer Richard Allen Davis, reaffirming the death sentence handed down for the murder of twelve-year-old Polly Klaas.”
On October 1, 1993, Polly Klaas had invited two of her friends over for a sleepover. Around 10:30 p.m., she opened her bedroom door to grab sleeping bags, when she saw a man with a knife. He tied the girls up, told Klaas' friends to count to one thousand, and then kidnapped Klaas. Over the next two months, about 4,000 people helped search for her. TV shows such as 20/20 and America's Most Wanted covered the kidnapping extensively.
The man responsible for this heinous crime, Richard Davis, confessed to breaking into Klaas' Petaluma home in October 1993 and tying up two of Polly's friends before abducting and strangling the girl. According to the New York Times, Davis was convicted on Tuesday, August 6, 1996.
Mark Danon and Darya Folsom of KRON 4 Morning News reported some of Marc Klass’ reactions to the recent June 1, 2009 ruling . "I had no doubts the death penalty would be upheld. I believe that this is a process that will continue for decades to come and it's really nothing more than a delaying process by the defense bar and the anti-death penalty lobby in this country."
Capital punishment is as controversial and contentious as abortion, and some even try to compare the two, though I don’t see any valid comparison. The death penalty kills convicted criminals while abortion kills innocent babies. There are so many directions I could take this article and questions I can pose, including but not limited to, the history of capital punishment and how many have been executed as a result. Is the death penalty necessary or humane? What methods are used and what crimes are punishable by the death penalty? What about those who are innocent, juveniles, or have mental problems? Is the death penalty really a deterrent and does it provide justice for those victims (and their families) who suffer and die as a result of violent and brutal crimes?
To me capital punishment is very complicated and there are so many issues to consider when you are deciding if you are pro- or anti- death penalty. I believe in mercy and redemption, so I am kind of iffy about the death penalty. That being said, what in the hell do we do with the perpetrators of heinous crimes against children, especially when they kidnap, molest, and kill our kids with no remorse? Is the death penalty warranted? I think so!
I am a regular viewer of Nancy Grace (HLN) and Mark Klass is a frequent guest. He is a class act and is always gracious and extremely informative on crimes against children. Unfortunately Klass’ reason for being in the spotlight is one of the worst possible — that tragic event when his daughter's life was brutally taken away at the tender age of twelve.
Since the kidnap and murder of his daughter, Klaas gave up his profitable rental car franchise to pursue an aggressive child safety agenda. “The Klass Kids Foundation was established in 1994 to give meaning to the death of my twelve-year-old daughter, kidnap and murder victim Polly Hannah Klaas, and to create a legacy in her name that would be protective of children for generations to come.” Whether you are an advocate or opponent of the death penalty (you think it is right or wrong), there is no denying that The Klass Kids Foundation is something we can all agree is the right thing!
As a mother of a twelve-year-old daughter, I can’t imagine what Klass had to endure at the time of this tragedy and every time he has to face more news about his daughter’s murderer. I admire this man who has taken this calamity and turned into a mission of good…a true hero.
Thanks to Marc Klass and others like him, we now have Megan’s Law, the Amber Alert, and The Adam Walsh Children’s Safety and Protection Act. But in my opinion, you can never do enough to protect children! We need to rethink what we are doing to prevent these heinous crimes and ensure our processes to protect our children are top priority. Our procedures to locate missing children should be the most effective possible, while our laws and punishments for crimes against children should be the strictest on the books, even if that means the death penalty.