The nation was stunned on Tuesday, February 3rd, 1998, when the state of Texas executed Karla Faye Tucker, for the gruesome double murders with a pickax in 1983. She was convicted fifteen years ago, and was given the death sentence by lethal injection. Tucker was the first woman executed in Texas since 1863, and only the second in the United States since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume. Texas remains one of the few states that still enforces capital punishment, an act people have once claimed unconstitutional and immoral, “…in part because of the consistent lack of favorable rulings, ” (Women’s Texas execution to proceed 2). To enforce this law on a woman, much less in the nineties, brings even more controversy to this topic, but was that a sufficient enough reason to kill her ?. Yes, she brutally murdered two innocent victims, the time she took their last breath away from their victims, should be her own last breath. The victims’ life were shortened because of her, with out any mercy. Tucker’s case had gone through many processes due to its appeals. Though it was a crime of passion, the fact that Tucker so shamelessly shoved the ax into the woman repeatedly, for her own sexual pleasure. Thus, the judicial system gave her those years to see if she’d recover mentally. If they would have executed her a year after her crime, despite her appeals, all this media attention and second thoughts would not have surfaced.
After her years on death row, she transformed from ” a drug-crazed prostitute turned born-again Christian” (Tucker left plans for reforming inmates 1). “She [Tucker] has found God and is now not the same woman who committed the murders; she is at peace with herself and the Lord, according to her supporters, ” (death penalty news 1). With all these claims, she won the hearts of many true Christians because Jesus taught forgiveness. A speaker from the Vatican pleaded, “He asks for a humanitarian gesture to underline the value of human life. Only God is the Lord of life or death,” (International appeals to spare Tucker fail 1). The irony of some Christians is the fact that once she “found” God, they were on her side, but if she would have said she was a Buddhist or Jew, it wouldn’t affect them at all: no one would be picketing for her.
There are also many who believe that capital punishment is a direct violation of the Eight Amendment which states, “…no excessive bond shall be used, nor cruel and unusual punishment…” (Murrin, Johnson, Mc Pherson, Gerstle, Rosenberg, Rosenberg 600).
Which is more cruel, her hacking one victim and then torturing another, or punishing her with a mix of chemicals that allow her to die without the kicking and screaming ?. They may also argue that we are not setting a good enough example for our children by “…raising generations of children who will learn the best way to deal with someone they think is evil, is to kill them…” (death penalty news 2), or even the simple statement that the death penalty is not a good enough reason deterrent for committing crimes, yet I beg to differ. If I was planning a murder, I bet I’ll think twice before I carry it so jail wouldn’t be my future. If they were going to let her off with a slap on the wrist, everyone on death row would raise their hands and claim Christianity. Some would even become a preacher just to get the death penalty out of their case. She tried to play the system like a piano, but it didn’t work; the system fought back to set a perfect example to warn those able to commit a crime that just because one says they’re a God-loving child, they will still pay for their crime, man or woman.
Though Tucker’s case of situational justice raised a lot of eye brows, the government of Texas came through with their decision and completed another chapter of our history in capital punishment, one which Texans hold close to their hearts. Karla Faye Tucker was pronounced dead at approximately 6:45 p.m. on the third of February. One of her final statements in the last minutes of her life were, “…I would like to say to all of you… that I am sorry. I hope God will give you peace with this,” (Karla Faye Tucker’s final statement 1). The Council of Churches statement, “We are convinced that hearts of stone will be replaced with hearts of flesh, and hold our the sincere, that the deep-seated American values of justice will prevail,” (International appeals for Tucker fail 2)
convingcinly did not. That night, the entire nation and the victims’ family, the Thorntons and Carlsons, were able to rest, after fifteen whole years of anger.
In conclusion, I think there is never going to be a perfect justice system and there is always going to be someone who is going to receive an unfair sentence. But we can’t abolish the death penalty because of a small number of unfair trials or the death of innocent people, against hundreds of thousand criminals in our society, they will take advantage of if it, if it is abolished. As long as murderers are confined in prison for life, without getting the chance of parole, then it is fine, but if they are executed, then it is a sure thing they will never be able to harm another innocent human being. It is for the good of our society and the future of any generation.
“Death penalty news.” [Yahoo Online] (Who Needs ‘Em…) Downloaded from America Online.
Available: http:// www.findmail.com/listener/death penalty/286.html.10 February 1998.
“International Appeals to spare Tucker fail.” [Yahoo Online] (CNN News). Downloaded from Flash. Available: February 1998.
“Karla Faye Tucker’s final statement.” [Yahoo Online] (CNN News). Downloaded from Flash. Available: February 1998.
“Karla Faye Tucker’s last hours ?.” [Yahoo Online] (CNN News). Downloaded from Flash. Available: February 1998.
Murrin, John M., Johnson, Paul E., Mc Pherson, James M., Gerstile, Gary, Rosenberg, Emily S.
Rosenberg, Norman L. “Amendment VIII”. Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People. Harcourt Brace. Fort Worth: 600.
“Tucker Left Plans For Reforming Inmates.” Yahoo Online] (CNN News). Downloaded from Flash. Available: February 1998
“Woman’s Texas Execution to Proceed.” Yahoo Online] (CNN News). Downloaded from Flash. Available: February 1998.