Virginia Second in Nation for Death Penalty Executions
On Tuesday, D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad became the 104th person executed in Virginia since 1976. Next week, another man will die by electrocution. Virginia is second in the nation for death penalty executions
Sniper John Allen Muhammad refused to utter any last words before he was executed Tuesday night.
The 48-year-old took to the grave answers about why and how he plotted the killings of 10 people that terrorized the D.C. area for three weeks in October 2002.
Muhammad died by injection Tuesday night as relatives of the victims watched from behind glass at Greenville Correctional Center, south of Richmond.
Muhammad was the 104th person executed in Virginia since 1976. Next week, Larry Bill Elliot will die by electrocution for the deaths of two people in Woodbridge. Virginia is second in the nation to Texas for death penalty executions.
A group led by the Harrisonburg Unitarian Universalist Church protested Tuesday's execution. Robin McNallie is a member of the church.
"We are mourning the violence that was done on the victims as well as what we feel to be the state's violence on the criminal," says McNallie.
McNallie feels violent criminals deserve to be punished but should stay locked in prison. The frequency of executions has him concerned.
"It tells me that we are behind other states in really looking [at], scrutinizing the death penalty," says McNallie.
Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain says the number two ranking should not be the focus.
"As long as there are adequate and fair appellate procedures in place, the people of the commonwealth of Virginia and across America strongly support the utilization of a fair and appropriate death penalty," says Obenshain.
According to a Washington Post poll, Virginians favor the death penalty by more than a 2-1 margin in murder cases.
"It seems to me to just perpetuate a cycle of violence," says McNallie.
"Quite frankly, I'm very satisfied that our system here in Virginia is one that yields true and just results," says Obenshain.
Obenshain says this winter the General Assembly will consider a bill that could expand use of the death penalty. It would allow for the execution of people who don't commit a murder but have the same intent to kill or plan it.
The bill has been vetoed before. Obenshain is optimistic Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell will support it. http://www.whsv.com/home/headlines/69798287.html