Court must rule on death penalty

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 26, 2007

South Point native William Earl Lynd waits. The families of his victims wait. Countless other convicted criminals and grieving families wait for much needed closure.

Want proof that the U.S. Supreme Court must rule on the constitutionality of lethal injection and potentially revamp the entire structure of the U.S. death penalty system? Look no farther than Lynd.

The convicted murderer has sat on Georgia’s death row for more than 17 years, each year becoming more and more agonizing for the families of Lynd’s victims.

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Lynd was convicted of killing Detroit teacher and a native of Huntington, W.Va., Leslie JoAnn Starkey on Christmas Day in 1988.

Just days before this tragedy, Lynd murdered his girlfriend in Georgia, another event in a string of violence and crime.

In Sept. 28, 1975, he pleaded guilty to the unlawful imprisonment of an Ashland woman abducted from a parking lot on Feb. 25, 1975.

On June 29, 1979, he was convicted of sexually abusing a Texas woman at knifepoint and sentenced to 25 years. He was released after the woman recanted the accusation.

Almost three years later, he pleaded guilty to forcing a Huntington minor to engage in oral sex in an encounter that occurred the fall before he was sentenced in Texas.

Now is time for the nation’s high court to take a stand on whether or not lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.

While nothing to be taken lightly, the death penalty was created for individuals like Lynd. Now the court just needs to refine the system.

The Supreme Court must quickly make a decision on lethal injection, hopefully outlining the process more completely and making it more consistent across the nation.

The key is that it is handled fairly and properly in each and every case.

Plus, we urge the court to look at the entire process, finding a way to streamline a system that takes far too long to administer and loses its strength as a deterrent.

Allowing the death penalty to remain in limbo is a disservice to all those waiting for justice to be served.