The Deed is Done

The US Supreme Court made us all hold our breath today when it was announced that they would hear a last-minute argument and possibly issue a stay of execution for Jose Medellin.  His execution was scheduled for 1800 central time.  Three hours later, with the death warrant still valid and Medellin already moved from the Death Row housing unit at Polunsky to the death chamber at Walls (same facility, different units), it was announced that the Supreme Court would not issue any stay. 

So, at 2035 central, Medellin was strapped down to the table and allowed to say his last words.  At 2048 the first of the drugs, sodium thiopental, was administered, putting Medellin into a deep sleep.  Next came pancuronium bromide, a muscle relaxer given in such a high does that it paralyzes the diaphragm and renders the lungs useless.  Finally they gave him potassium chloride, interrupting the signals between the brain and heart, inducing cardiac arrest.  Essentially, the man died in his sleep.

Adolfo Pena, the father of murder victim Elizabeth Pena, said, “Fifteen years is a long time.  I wish those two girls could’ve lived that long.”  It’s sad that a man should have to say that–I wish my daughter had lived this long.  It’s sad that he’s saying it because a worthless flab of human debris robbed the world of his little girl and nearly got away with it.  What’s really incomprehensible, though, is that there are those out there who see this kind of crime and somehow still believe that the death penalty is cruel and unusual.  But since Medellin didn’t give his victims any painkillers before brutalizing them, I fail to grasp why his crime is not deserving of something far worse than what he received.

His final words, though, are worth repeating this time.  Usually, they’re not; usually, the condemned either claims innocence or says something completely off-kilter.  Medellin, in a strange turn, took responsibility for his crimes.  He said, “I’m sorry that my actions brought you pain.  I hope this brings the closure to what you seek.”


5 thoughts on “The Deed is Done

  1. I don’t favor the death penalty no matter how heinous the crime may be. But, I used to.

    What turned me the other direction was the Andrea Yates case. This woman systematically drowned her five children. If that doesn’t deserve the death penalty then tell me what does?

    If Andrea Yates’s husband had done the same thing with the same facts and circumstances driving him, then you bet he’d get the needle.

    I know it costs money to lock people up and I know it costs money to put them to death. I won’t even argue money here. For me the issue is fairness. If you can potentially beat the system because you are a woman or black or rich or poor then that isn’t right.

    I don’t know how we change the system to bring more equity to it. I am not certain that can be done.

  2. In a free society, you’ll never reach complete equality. That’s part of the price…remaining vigilant about stuff like that is a requirement to be responsible enough to handle freedom.

    And the Andrea Yates case is particularly disconcerting, as much as the Mary Winkler case. She just got her kids back.

  3. I could not agree more with your assessment of this case.

    WTG, girl.

    I frankly, think we’re still way too lenient on folks that commit murders. I don’t want innocent folks getting capital punishment, but I think, if we had stiffer penalties, or even public hangings (for example, people) there’d be less crime. Or if the criminal knew that the folks of this dead girl could do to him what he did to her, that might make some people think twice.

  4. “I frankly, think we’re still way too lenient on folks that commit murders. ”


    I live in California and I would politely disagree with you. We don’t put them on death row at the pace of other states. But, we’ve got plenty of murderers doing 25 to life or more.

    There is very little murder in the county I live. I think two reasons for that is my county is very wealthy (more money equals less crime) and juries here don’t take kindly to people who commit murder.

  5. It’s easy to see that perspective when you live in a neighborhood like that. I know, because I live in a nice neighborhood, too. But I’ve also been a crime victim, and I’ll never forget listening to the little bastard who tried to mug me laugh when the judge gave him credit for time served and “intensive” probation.

    And that AFTER I handed him his arse during the attempted mugging.

    The trouble is that criminals don’t have respect for the law because they know there’s plenty of them to go around and there’s always gonna be some judge who doesn’t know or care and just wants to clear his docket. THAT is what needs to be addressed, and if it’s done so by harsher penalties, with no second (and third and fourth) chances, including the death penalty for murder (sans the 15 years on death row waiting for appeals), we will begin to see a change.

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