Thursday, April 28, 2005

It's a shame these two will die more peacefully than their victims

Samantha Runnion Slay Suspect Convicted
A jury convicted a factory worker Thursday of kidnapping and murdering 5-year-old Samantha Runnion, an Orange County girl whose 2002 death prompted widespread heartbreak, outrage and stronger efforts to rescue abducted children.

After deliberating for less than nine hours over two days, jurors convicted Alejandro Avila, 30, of kidnapping, murder and sexual assault. In the penalty phase, set to begin Wednesday, the jury will decide whether to recommend a death sentence or life in prison without parole.

Samantha's mother, Erin Runnion, cried silently in the front row of the courtroom as verdicts were read. She hugged prosecutor David Brent as the jury left.
Justice is served, at least most of it. Now all we need is the death sentence, as this bastard deserves. Contrary to what his defense lawyer claimed, the case was hardly circumstantial:

A police sketch of Samantha's abductor, based on a description from an 8-year-old friend of hers, resembles Avila. Prosecutors said cell phone and bank records indicate Avila had been in the area where Samantha was abducted, DNA matching his genetic profile was found under her fingernails, and sneaker and tire prints found near the girl's body also matched with the defendant.

Meanwhile, justice has been fully served for a crime committed thousands of miles away:

Jury Returns Death Sentence in GI Killings
A military jury sentenced a soldier to death Thursday for a grenade and rifle attack on his own comrades during the opening days of the Iraq invasion, a barrage that killed two officers and that prosecutors said was driven by religious extremism.

Sgt. Hasan Akbar, who gave a brief, barely audible apology hours earlier, stood at attention between his lawyers as the verdict was delivered. He showed no emotion.

He could have been sentenced to life in prison with or without parole for the early morning March 2003 attack, which also wounded 14 fellow members of the Army's 101st Airborne Division at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait.

The 15-person military jury, which last week took just two and a half hours to convict Akbar of premeditated murder and attempted premeditated murder, deliberated for about seven hours in the sentencing phase. After jurors reached a verdict, they voted on whether to reconsider the decision after one juror asked that they do so.

The sentence will be automatically appealed. If Akbar is executed, it would be by lethal injection....

If given a death sentence, Akbar would join five others on the military's death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. The last U.S. military execution was in 1961.
He's getting off easily, and I wonder why we have military personnel convicted of capital crimes, sentenced to death, but apparently not being executed?

Meanwhile, Akbar's lawyer asks for mercy:
Defense attorney Maj. David Coombs told jurors that a sentence of life without parole would allow Akbar to be treated for mental illness and possibly rehabilitated.

"Death is an absolute punishment, a punishment of last resort," Coombs said.
How about showing Akbar the same mercy that he showed to his victims? Or was Akbar simply acting as ambassador to the "religion of peace"?

We don't want him treated for mental illness. We don't want him rehabilitated. We want him executed. Is that too much to ask?

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