Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Too Fat To Execute, Inmate Says.

CNN reports on the latest death row inmate claiming that he's too fat to execute.

Richard Cooey said in a death row interview that his execution cannot be carried out humanely under current state procedures because his veins are hard to reach.

It seems Richard gained a bit of weight while awaiting execution and claims that his veins would be hard to access. He says if it would make people feel better they could legally shoot him in the head with a .45. To me that sounds like typical convict nonsense. The fact that it gets so much attention is amazing to me. I discovered a blog called Lukie's Ludicrous Lore which has a couple posts about this guy and several comments, none of which I can agree with.

It always amazes me how people talk about convicted men. "we have supported this monster for the past 22 years, his free ride is up." says Lukie. Prisoners are referred to as "these animals." About Richard Cooey's headaches, Lukie says "I am sorry but migraines are a [sic]inconvenience that a prisoner should have to live with."

There's no shortage of sites like this, I just found Lukie's from the link on CNN. The comments are even worse. There we have , "Kill the waste of space and taxpayer dollars!" And the banal, "have a big trucker named Bubba come into his cell one night, rape him, and then murder him in cold blood."

Sites like this remind me of the so-called hate sites, you know the ones with the vilest words imaginable against Jews or Blacks or Gays. The thing is most reasonable people, even if they identify with some of the sentiments, don't consider this kind of talk politically correct. I guess death row inmates don't count.

My own opinion is that we should deal with all people, even the worst of the worst, with respect. The death penalty should be abolished because it's morally inconsistent with our laws that say it's wrong to kill. Bad boys like Richard must be treated with all due process of law. To fail in any of these things damages us, lowers us, diminishes us. Civilized society should not have to resort to such a brutal sanction in order to protect itself. And in civilized society we certainly don't need to call people names and cry out for vengeance like a bunch of Salem witch hunters of the 17th century.

The crime, committed when he was 19 years old, was truly horrible.

Cooey and a co-defendant kidnapped Wendy Offredo, 21, and Dawn McCreery, 20, after disabling their car by dropping a chunk of concrete on it from a highway overpass. They choked and beat the women to death after repeatedly raping them, then carved X's in their abdomens.

My deepest and sincerest condolences go out to the Offredo and McCreery families.


  1. "He says if it would make people feel better they could legally shoot him in the head with a .45."

    it would make me feel better. Hell I got a bunch of .45s, I'll let him pick his favorite, and if they pay my airfair, I'll supply the vacation days and the ammo.

    Justice must be served on this case.

  2. Mike,

    A couple of points.

    First, I agree with about the hatred, it a waste. This person isn't worth expending that strong of emotion over. A jury of his peers found him guilty and decided his punishment. I'm not sure how many appeals he's had, but all capital punishments have at least 1 appeal.

    His actions have brought him to that fate. I find those actions, like you, vile and reprehensible. It isn't worthy of my time or energy to put hatred into what he deserves. Kill him and move on.

    Sites like this remind me of the so-called hate sites,... don't consider this kind of talk politically correct.

    Check out this site that I'm commenting on. Tell me the hatred is only one sided. I think any thing like the foul comments aren't appropriate. I'll defend your right to say them, like I defend your right to advocate taking away my guns....but hatred isn't just a conservative issue.

  3. a .45 wouldn't be the best weapon for that sort of use, but if he really can't stand the suffering of some nurse or doctor hunting around for a vein in his arm for a few minutes, then i suppose a firing squad would get the job done quickly and efficiently. four or five rounds of soft-point .30-06 or .308 should be quite sufficient, no matter what his size.

    which is not to say i would want either method used on him, or any other method of execution at all. but his excuse for not wanting a lethal injection is transparently, childishly stupid. is that really the best argument he can come up with?

  4. I dunno, Nomen, I'd say a high-quality bonded hollow-point 9x19mm or better delivered at close range to the back of the skull would likely be one of the quickest ways to go. Also a pistol JHP will less likely exit the skull...or exit at any apreciable velocity as to maintain the safety of the executioner.

  5. see for me, i try to put these things in black and white and forget the greys...

    after reading what they did.. i WANT them to have headaches, for the rest of their lives.

    I'm all for treating them with respect, but i cant say that i oppose the death penatly for actions such as that.

  6. I've said this before but as a criminal lawyer, I've had to go through the autopsy photos of murder victims so I've no illuions about the nature of violent crime.

    The death penalty? I'm still against it.

    Why? Because it's wrong.

  7. White Rabbit,

    Could you explain a little more about why you think it's wrong?

    I've read Mike's reasoning, but I'm still struggling to understand.

  8. Problem could be solved by the noose and an appropriate drop so as to pull his head clean off.


  9. Best make the "Rope" steel cable. Definitely a botched hanging would fall under the clause of "Cruel and Unusual", and I couldn't support that.

    Still a properly executed hanging is a very humane way to die.

  10. Bob, You said "This person isn't worth expending that strong of emotion over." Well, that's just my point; he is worth treating with respect. He is a human person and is thereby deserving of respect. How is it possible for anti-abortion people, I don't know if this applies to you personally, but how is it possible for the right-to-life folks to so easily write off these hardened criminals? Are the bad boys less deserving of respect than a fetus? I say they're more deserving because they are full-grown humans, unlike the fetuses, and regardless of how damaged they are or how badly they behave they deserve respect like everybody else.

  11. hmm... i take a slightly different tack to you, Mike. i don't think people as brutal and cruel as these criminals deserve my respect, or the respect of any individual person. but that's not the same as saying we, ordinary law-abiding citizens, can easily afford to disrespect them, and different yet again from saying society as a whole can disrespect them.

    just because they do or don't deserve something, doesn't mean we (for any meaning of "we") should or shouldn't give it to them. i think i said something similar about the death penalty, over on your wordpress blog.

    showing outright disrespect to someone else --- going out of one's way to display such an emotion --- changes the person who does that. same way expressing hatred openly does, same way giving vent to rage or fury does. even if you have good reason to do it, the doing of it lets some deep, old part of yourself think that such behavior is acceptable or harmless or even good. we should be careful what kinds of cathartic behaviors we allow ourselves, because we can change ourselves that way.

    this particular death-row inmate deserves to be skinned alive, in my estimation. but it would be mindlessly self-destructive of us to grant him that; it would grievously hurt us to do that. that is reason enough to call it immoral, even though it's by no means the only reason.

    then too, there's a difference between society in aggregate --- the entity which, in theory anyway, metes out criminal justice and punishment --- and any one individual member of it. some libertarian folks like to say that society shouldn't have any more power than its individual members. i don't necessarily always agree with that, but i can see reasons why at times it should have less.

    society as a whole should not be allowed the "emotion" of vindictiveness, or the power to act on it. the larger group is too powerful to be allowed to dally with such childish things. society as a whole does not need to be allowed to either "feel" or to act upon, disrespect; and to allow it such power could easily prove antisocial, as it might bring all of society into disrespect in return. us individual citizens surely would do better without that.

  12. Bob S - okay, I ould blether on about the absence of serious evidence that capital punishment is a deterrent or the 'what about the risk of executing an innocent person?' argument or the 'cruel and unusual punishment' argument but I'll cut to the chase...

    The only argument for taking a life can be self defence/defence of others - capital punishment ain't that.

    End of...

  13. The people voted for the availability of the death penalty in criminal law, the supreme courts have ruled it is not "cruel and unusual". A court convicted him and he was lawfully sentenced to death.

    If you have a beef with this, go run for office, write your legislators, don't bother pissing in the wind irritating people who are well within their lawful rights to like the idea of vengeance.

    And the Answer my friend

    Get a rope and webcam it so we can see his head pop off in full motion video.


  14. one of the rare occasions when i'll agree with the Rabbit and oppose democracy. doesn't matter to me if the rest of the nation votes on which one person to throw off the empire state building, they do not have any damn right to do that.

    killing should be a last resort when all other options have failed or are unavailable; an entire society can never claim such last resort against any one single person.

  15. White Rabbit,

    Thanks for the response.

    Something you said struck me
    The only argument for taking a life can be self defence/defence of others - capital punishment ain't that

    This is your opinion and I respect that you have it but I can see other arguments for it other then self defense/defense of others.

    1 would be the cruelty of locking away someone for multiple decades without every hope of release.
    If a person has committed such acts that society deems him/her to be never able to a part of it again, isn't it crueler to keep that person alive in a cell? This is especially true that prisons are required to treat people with terminal illnesses, even if they have a life sentence. Does it make much sense to prolong someone's life just to let them stay in prison longer?

    Another would be if the goal of prison should be rehabilitation, an argument made on this site if I'm not mistaken, then imprisonment for life doesn't make sense? What good is rehabilitation if the person will never be re-integrated into society?

    Two definitions of justice:
    # the ideal of fairness, esp. with regard to the punishment of wrongdoing (justice was served)
    # punishment of a person who wronged one (to demand justice)

    Shouldn't the punishment fit the crime as the old saying goes?
    I don't want to spend 100 days in jail for a speeding ticket, but I also don't want people who savagely murder two people to get out of prison (which happens frequently).
    Aren't there some crimes so horrendous that society has to say the punishment for this act has to be equal to the action?

  16. Bob S - thanks for the thoughtful and moderately put response. It merits another. The way it works here in the UK is that life imprisonment is mandatory following a conviction for murder. Most convicted murderers are given a minimum recommendation - the years to be served before consideration of parole (16 years in the last murder case I did to give you some idea). The key word is 'consideration' - it's far from automatic. Even if released they are on life licence and can be recalled to prison. The worst cases (probably equivalent to the worst death penalty cases in the states) are given a whole life tariff and will never be released.

    Prison can be a transformative experience - one point that often strikes me in US death penalty cases is that by the time for execution, the offender has become a very different person. But I'd have to accept that the possibility of transformation and finding something valuable and life-changing in prison is extravagantly improbable in the worst possible cases. Some people are just dangerous psychopaths. If you don't execute them then they need to be incarcerated for the rest of their lives or they will do something dreadful because they are like that. take the hardest case I can think of - Ian Brady - if you don't know his story, he was a sadistic serial child murderer in the sixties - he has been inside for over 40 years, will never be released, is undoubtedly mentally ill but is consistent in saying that he wants to die. So why shouldn't he get his wish? No-one would miss him. The possibility of anything redemptive happening in his case is a big round zero.

    I can only say this: by killing in cold blood, you reduce yourself to the level of the murderer. I still can see no justification for killing than the one originally stated. The timing and circumstances of Brady's death is not up to him. It's not up to me either. You won't agree but - well - you did ask. ;)

  17. What if we have the executioners run a fever first and "kill in warm or even hot blood?" "Cold blood" has always seemed a stupid phrase to me. Boiling him in animal blood would also be an effective way to end his wasting of O2. Let's kill sick f*cks with "hot blood"! And televise it so people remember real life isn't Grand Theft Auto.

    Let the f*ck die, he wants to anyway. You do nobody a service by preventing them from dying when they want to die. I bet, on the other hand, you'd be ok with "assisted suicide" for the terminally ill. Just hazarding a guess on that one.

    Bastard ought to meet the cat of nine tails for a couple hours before he gets humanely dispatched, judging by how he treated his fellow citizens. Do unto others as one would have done unto you.





    Go run away to a different country and then tell people how to run the country you ran away from how to mind their business. I believe in most places and countries that would get your ass kicked quite severely.

    Just sayin'.

  19. White Rabbit,

    Thanks for the reply, I appreciate the moderate and informative responses also.

    I would like to focus on two points.

    First, the point you make about prison being a transforming experience. Is it the prison itself, the sentence, the individual or the influences in the prison?

    You will have to admit not every prisoner sentenced to life or even the death penalty undergoes a transformative experience, so we might be able to rule out the prison itself and the sentence, agreed?

    That leaves two possibilities, an outside influence and the individual. I'm going to lump this two together, because the results happen inside the person...a change of belief and perspective. That person who was transformed can only possible be transformed because of his experiences, all of his experiences, if this makes sense. A murderer won't get a death penalty hanging over his head if he never kills, if he never kills he never goes to prison, etc.

    So, does a change in a person's perspective means the consequences should be nullified?
    The claim I hear most often is that person isn't even the same person that committed the crime, BUNK. As I've pointed out, he is. Shouldn't that individual suffer the consequences that brought him to that point?

    The other point I want to make is the difference between killing and murder.
    It may not sound like a big difference, but it can and should be a large one.
    I am perfectly justified in killing someone about to murder or physically assault me, right?
    That is the consequence for his behavior and my inherent right to enforce the laws of society.

    It is not murder. Murder, according to Mirriam Webster online, is 1: the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought.

    Notice two key words, crime and unlawfully. It is not a crime to defend myself and it is not a crime to enforce the laws of society. Would it be murder if I stopped someone from killing my wife? Nope. Is it a crime? Nope.

    The death penalty is simply a delayed enforcement of society's laws....suffering the consequences of that person's actions and is entirely legal.

    I guess you'll focus on the malice aforethought aspect. But justice delayed isn't necessarily malicious. It gives time for the appeals process to work.

    Hope this makes sense and explains my position better.
    I am enjoying the conversations with you.

  20. Thomas, I think quisling is a little strong in describing me, either with or without the capslock. I do accept your point that I need to keep in mind that I'm an expat and don't want to sound like I'm telling you what to do. I mentioned once before that even though I've been in Italy for 20 years I still think of myself as American. And besides, it's my blog.

  21. @mike I didn't personally call you a QUISLING, I pointed out that you will be seen as such by many because of your circumstances. There is a difference. Just pointing out a fact, as I'm want to do. No personal insult was intended.

    I've said as much to a South African acquaintance in person more than once, as I have friends who didn't cut and run from RSA when things got tough, and he conceded the point after much argument. A person can look schoolmarmish and a bit silly telling people in the country that they LEFT that they aren't running it properly.