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Warren victims’ advocate: Lethal injection is just



Published: Thu, August 12, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

By ED RUNYAN

runyan@vindy.com

WARREN

Despite years of being a Trumbull County Victim-Witness advocate and making five trips to Lucasville in recent years, Miriam Fife had never witnessed an execution until Tuesday.

After watching Roderick Davie of Warren die Tuesday morning for killing two people in Warren in 1991 and nearly killing a third, she doesn’t believe any further controversy should follow the state’s execution method — lethal injection.

“That is the most peaceful way in the world to die,” she said Wednesday after returning to Trumbull County from the state’s death house in Lucasville.

Fife’s own son, Raymond, was murdered at age 12 in 1985, and one of her son’s killers, Danny Lee Hill, waits on death row.

Fife said she prayed before she entered the execution viewing room for one thing: That Davie would apologize to Sandy Richmond, mother of murder victim Tracey Jefferys; the family of murder victim John Coleman; and William Everett, the victim who survived the attack.

Fife got her wish, as Davie said he was sorry.

Davie then looked up at the ceiling as shunts were inserted into a vein in each arm, and a lethal drug was administered.

As the drug began to enter his body, Davie turned his head back toward the families and mouthed, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” Fife said. “He closed his eyes and went to sleep.”

“That moment gave me the absolute knowledge that there is no cruel and unusual punishment in lethal injection,” Fife said.

Fife’s Victim-Witness office is in the Trumbull courthouse and is part of the county prosecutor’s office. She traveled to Lucasville for the executions of Jason Getsy of Hubbard last August and Kenneth Biros of Brookfield in December, and is aware that defense lawyers argued vigorously for several years that lethal injection was cruel and unusual punishment.

She went to the Getsy and Biros executions to assist family members of the victims, but she didn’t witness the executions.

An aborted Ohio execution in September 2009 that took nearly two hours because officials couldn’t find a usable vein led Ohio to change its execution method from a three-drug cocktail to a one-drug method and a backup protocol that injects the drug into a muscle for those whose veins are hard to access.

Fife said it’s true that it sometimes takes several tries to get a shunt or needle into someone’s arm, but that is no different than what any patient is likely to experience when they are in a hospital preparing for surgery or donating blood.

“There’s no big deal to get the needle in. It happens every day,” she said. “I will never be convinced there is any inhumanity involved in it.”

Fife said she sat with Sandy Richmond and her husband and witnessed Tuesday’s execution because she is a good friend of Sandy Richmond’s.

Fife said she didn’t think about Danny Lee Hill while watching Davie’s death.

And though she is glad that Davie showed mercy to the victims of his murders and attempted murder, there is a “fine line” separating the forgiveness a murderer can receive from the victim’s family and the punishment a murderer deserves.

“I think the punishment they get for that crime is the right punishment,” she said of the death penalty, regardless of whether the victim and murderer accept each other.

Fife said she thinks a person who has committed murder can’t be allowed to return to society. “Those types of people don’t really stop,” she said.

The second man convicted of killing Raymond Fife was Tim Combs, who was sentenced to 46 years to life in prison.

Combs is not eligible for the death penalty because he was a minor at the time of the murder.


Comments

1Joe306tow(49 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

.What happens when someone is convicted "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" and After they are put to death, they are later proved innocent based on DNA testing?

This has happened before! And many cases that are/have been re-examined have proved that the conviction and Death Sentence were wrong.

So, tell me does that make the Judge, Jury and Executioner all Guilty of Murder and subject to the death penalty?

Who pays the family of a falsely executed person for their wrongful death. Sure some cases may be cut and dry, but Ohio has at least one case where a man was falsely convicted of Vehicular Homicide in the death of a family. He was executed, now the prosecutor, and others have been found to have withheld evidence that proved he was innocent. So, an innocent man was killed by the state, due to the negligence of one man.

If you live by the sword then die by it. The prosecutor in this case should be put to death for causing an innocent mans death. So where does this all end?

Do we execute the Governor that was in office when the innocent man was put to death?

Since he could have stopped the wrongful death but did not.

Whether or not you are for the Death Penalty one thing is set in stone.

The Murder Victim will NOT come back from the dead, by carrying out a death sentence for their killer. The only things that are accomplished are revenge for the victims family and maybe closure. And if the executed person is later proved to be innocent then bye-bye goes that vengeance and closure.

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2Lifes2Short(3877 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

So Joe, what would you do?

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3CassAnn(252 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Joe306tow- Convicted murderers go through years and years of appeals before they actually face the death penalty itself. You would think the accused persons attorney would fight for DNA testing long before they were facing the table. It is a tragedy to lose one falsely accused person, but it is even more of a tragedy to stop administering the death penalty and remove any fear of retribution from the mind of would be killers. Furthermore, why should we pay to house and feed people who behave worse than animals? Lethal injection is a kindness much nicer than the perps gave their victims. The victims dont get to say goodbye to their family, a last meal, or a virtually painless end.

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4Wapiti(139 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

From Joe306tow
.What happens when someone is convicted "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" and After they are put to death, they are later proved innocent based on DNA testing?

This has happened before! And many cases that are/have been re-examined have proved that the conviction and Death Sentence were wrong.

OK JOE, NOW, WOULD YOU PLEASE NAME ALL THOSE THAT WERE PUT TO DEATH, THAN LATER PROVEN INNOCENT THROUGH DNA TESTING.
THANKS, I KNEW YOU COULD ADMIT WHEN YOU WERE PROVEN WRONG. THE ONLY THING WRONG WITH THE DEATH PENALTY IS THAT IT'S NOT USED ENOUGH.

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5mzfeefee(22 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

David Wayne Spence, executed by the state of Texas on April 3, 1997 despite the conclusion of the police lieutenant who supervised the case that "I do not think David Spence committed this crime." The homicide detective on the case added, "My opinion is that David Spence was innocent. Nothing from the investigation ever led us to any evidence that he was involved." One of the inmates who testified in Spence's trial, Robert Snelson, said, "We all fabricated our accounts of Spence confessing in order to try to get a break from the state on our cases." --- Just one case...there are many more (way too many).
Death Row cases are expensive and usually those convicted are indigent with no money for dna testing, etc...Countries without death penalty have much lower incidence of violent crime which disproves the theory that death row is a crime deterrent.
How can closure and healing come out of another murder (even though this one is state sanctioned)?

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6Wapiti(139 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

That's no proof he didn't do the crime. Just opinions. Also, now you want to believe convicted felons yet when they were on trial you didn't believe them. So, are they lying now or were they lying then?
Use the death penalty. If it's used, it will be a deterrent. The death penalty isn't "murder", it's rending unto Caesar what is Caesar's.

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7Cassie(88 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I used to be in favor of the death penalty, but recent cases where DNA testing has proved men innocent who have spent years behind bars have made me rethink. It is not possible to cite how many innocent persons have been put to death because we will never know, but certainly these cases of men proven innocent and released from prison makes one think. As I grow older, the thought of deliberately putting another person to death, no matter how heinous his crime, really bothers me. I myself would rather die than be in prison for life without parole. I do not have answers, just thoughts.

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8RobertH(50 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

To Wapiti and Animal .....

There is no proof either of YOU haven't committed murder so why don't we stick a needle in both your arms?

I mean, neither of you can prove you haven't committed murders, rapes, armed robberies, so you must be guilty, RIGHT?

LMAO!

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9bouyantkym(30 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

THIS S A VERY TOUCHY SUBJECT TO HAVE AN OPINION ON, DOES ANYONE HERE READ THE BIBLE? IF YOU DON'T ,THEN MAYBE YOU SHOULD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. NO MAN HAS A RIGHT TO KILL SOMEONE, REGAURDLESS. WE ARE NOT TO JUDGE. YES WE SHOULD KEEP THE CRIMINAL AWAY FROM SOCIETY. BUT REMEMBER WHOEVER ADMINISTERS THE COCKTAIL WILL BE CONDEMNED ALSO.IT IS MUCH CHEAPER FOR THE STATE TO PAY FOR DNA TESTING, THAN TO HAVE TO PAY THE FAMILY FOR WRONGFUL DEATH, BESIDES THE STATE LIKES TO WASTE MONEY ON OTHER STUPID THINGS.BIG BANQUETS, LAVISH HOTEL ROOMS, FOR THE EMPLOYEES, WHAT MAKES THEM BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE.IF YOU BELIEVE IN GODS WORDS, THEN THIS WOULD NOT BE GOING ON. THE GOVERNMENT IS SO CORRUPT, AND IM STICKING TO MY BELIEFS.

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10dburkey(19 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

God Bless Mrs.Fife.

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11bouyantkym(30 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

YES GOD BLESS MRS.FIFE, FOR HAVING TO WITNESS THIS, BUT DOES SHE HAVE A FORGIVING HEART, LIKE A TRUE CHRISTIAN? SEEMS TO ME (NOT!!), EVERYONE IS SO BARBARIC!! SHE'S JUST AS GUILTY AS THE PERSON WHO KILLED.NOBODY CAN LIVE IN ANOTHERS MIND, SO WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE AND KILL, MAYBE IF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD FORK OVER A LITTLE OF THAT MONEY TO HELP PEOPLE INSTEAD OF WASTING IT. THINGS WOULD BE DIFFERENT.

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12bouyantkym(30 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

1 THING TO REMEMBER KILLING SOMEONE DOES NOT BRING ANYONE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,

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13RobertH(50 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

To Joe:
".What happens when someone is convicted "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" and After they are put to death, they are later proved innocent ...?"

This is one of the reasons I'm not for the death penalty. If someone is locked up forever they can at least be left go, but when someone is put to death, thats pretty damned permanent.

Anyone trying to say that innocent people haven't been executed is fooling themselves.

"So, tell me does that make the Judge, Jury and Executioner all Guilty of Murder and subject to the death penalty?"

Yeah, someone saying "Oops, My Bad" doesn't seem to cut it.

Just because the blame for execution of the innocent is spread among all in society does not make us innocent of murdering the innocent, it just makes us a little guilty.

That being stated, I find it really hard to get too worked up over someone who confesses to murder, or proven beyond all doubt of a heinous crime, being executed.

And if I were on a jury for a capitol case I would have to go by the rules and not go with my personal beliefs.

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14RobertH(50 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Far as anyone thinking that a death penalty prevents crime, think again.

It's the perception of getting caught that prevents crime.

Far as the BIBLE? Thank God for the First Amendment and religion being kept out of Law.

Fact, if I were on a Jury and a fellow juror started the Bible talk I would have to go to the Judge and express my concerns over fairness.

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15cambridge(3013 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Wapiti....It would be pretty hard to name the people that have been put to death and later found innocent because of DNA. I don't believe they take DNA from dead people. The link below is a list of people that were found innocent by DNA before they were killed.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/innoc...

http://reason.com/archives/2010/02/08...

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16cambridge(3013 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

My bad. Not all of the people were found innocent because of DNA. Some were found innocent because of evidence other than DNA.

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17Lifes2Short(3877 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

bouy

“Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:6)

If a human or an animal killed a human, the killer was to be put to death (Genesis 9:5)
God created humans in His image, so murdering another human meant you would forfeit your own life.

Well, there is no more famous case of an innocent person's being condemned to death than when God's own Son, Jesus Christ, endured an unjust trial on trumped-up charges, suffered, and died on a wooden cross. Yet God did not intervene. The need for justice is so strong that it seems He is willing to put up with an occasional wrong conviction rather than remove the death penalty.

Those who say the death penalty isn't a deterrent to crime miss the point. The penalty is not chiefly to deter others, but to punish and remove from society the one who would perpetrate such serious crimes.

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18aroara(1 comment)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

In response to the comment about David Wayne Spence, part of the evidence against him was the fact that the murderer bit one of the victims nipples. Spence's teeth impressions were found to match those of the bite mark on the victim. Further, Lt. Horton was removed from the case BEFORE Spence became the main suspect because of incompetence.

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