A terrible story nears its end:
MIAMI (AP) - A sex offender was found guilty Wednesday of kidnapping and raping a 9-year-old girl and burying her alive in a case that led to a crackdown around the country on people convicted of sex crimes.
Jurors deliberated about four hours before returning the verdict against John Evander Couey in the slaying of Jessica Lunsford, who was snatched from her bedroom in 2005 about 150 yards from the trailer where Couey had been living.
Her body was found in a shallow hole, encased in two black plastic trash bags. She had suffocated, and was found clutching a purple stuffed dolphin.
Couey had a record as a sex offender. In 1991, he was arrested on a charge of fondling a child. In 1978, he was accused of grabbing a girl in her bedroom, placing his hand over her mouth and kissing her.
This case raises two questions which might be asked of those who oppose the death penalty. First, does John Couey deserve to be executed or doesn't he? Second, if he does deserve it what good is served by not doing it?
By refusing to execute a man such as this for the horrific crime he commited we send the message to society that Jessica Lunsford's life is not worth executing her murderer over. A society which refuses to execute people like Couey sends the message that it just doesn't value innocent life very highly, at least not highly enough to make taking a life punishable by the most severe penalty.
To allow him to live is a bit like assessing a rapist a $50 fine. The penalty sends the message that the crime isn't very serious and that women really aren't worth protecting.
Justice is served by nothing less than the execution of John Couey. It's better than what he deserves.RLC