Death penalty fails victims’ families


A recent Associated Press article that was published in this paper and others across the state mentioned House Bill 370, a bill that replaces Montana’s death penalty with life without parole. As someone who has experienced the devastating murder of a loved one first hand, I know that the issue of capital punishment in Montana — especially in terms of how it affects murder victims’ families — is more complicated than most people think.

My daughter, Donna, was brutally murdered at my son’s place of business in Montana City. The murder was cold, heartless, pointless and devastating. Losing Donna in such an appalling way was devastating to me and my family. Our grief was only compounded by the senselessness of the act, the complete innocence of my daughter, and the lack of concern or remorse demonstrated by the perpetrators.

Donna’s murder shocked and hurt not just my family, but our entire community. Our friends gathered around to support us, and many of them told us that they hoped “they kill the bastards.” While I appreciated the support of my friends, they just didn’t understand. Aside from the fact that killing the murderers would not bring Donna back, executing them would be too easy! I want the perpetrators to live every day with their terrible acts. I want them to live out the rest of their days in prison while the rest of us enjoy our freedom.

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