Friday, May 8, 2009

Christmas Joy Killer Slated for Execution

Ohio's reports on the approaching execution date of Dayton's so-called Christmas Joy Killer.

The ringleader of one of Dayton's worst killing sprees now has a date with death. Marvallous Keene will be executed July 21,2009.

In 1992 he orchestrated a three day killing spree that began on Christmas Eve and left six people dead, two wounded, and cast fear over the city. The murders later became known as the "Christmas Joy killings," as the victims were chosen seemingly at random.

He was 20 years old, and along with one accomplice, the eldest of the gang of six, their leader. I imagine he probably had a rough childhood, maybe his dad left or perhaps he was punished excessively or deprived in some way. I'm sure there are many potentially mitigating circumstances; some probably came out during the trial. But, what do you do with a guy like this? What do you do with him in order to be fair to him and in order to protect society? That's the question.

The comment section which follows the article is typical; many favor capital punishment in cases like this. But, reading them, I don't get the sense of rational well-balanced people who are striving to find the right solution. Things like this comment don't really work for me. "Removing yet more ****-poor protoplasm from the earth."

Some others talked about the excessive length of time the condemned people spend on death row before receiving their sentence.

And a few feel just like I do. Here's one: "I agree The Death Penalty needs to Stop!! I mean Killing the Killer makes us no better than he is."

I would go further. I would say killing the killer makes us worse than he is. For us as a society there are no mitigating circumstances, the kind that in some cases genuinely exist and partly explain the killer's actions. For us it's closer to cold-blooded, premeditated murder for convenience or for some trumped up idea of right and wrong.

What's your opinion? Wouldn't life in prison for guys like this be a better solution?

Please leave a comment.


  1. For me, in a case where an individual set out to kill an innocent person or multiple innocent people as his sole intent, the death penalty is warranted.

    In other cases where the initial criminal intent was say, robbery and then it escalated to murder, a sentence of life with out parole can be just.

    IMO, LWOP can also be used where the victim in some way contributed to his death. For example, was involved in the drug trade and the murder was a dispute over drugs.

  2. How about we not execute anyone and completely change the sentencing guidelines. Instead of a hierarchical list of prison sentences based upon the gravity of the offense, increasing punishment in other words, lets base everything on the "danger to society index." No more punishment for retribution or deterrence, only keep them locked up if they pose a danger, and for as long as they pose a danger.

    What do you think?

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