Monday, November 08, 2010

Steven Hayes: Now this is a case where I believe the death penalty is warranted...

People have asked me in what situation would I approve of the death penalty.  The following story is a case I believe the death penalty is warranted:
A Connecticut man was condemned to death Monday for a night of terror inside a suburban home in which a woman was strangled and her two daughters tied to their beds, doused in gasoline and left to die in a fire.

Jurors in New Haven Superior Court voted unanimously to send Steven Hayes to death row after deliberating over the span of four days. Judge Jon Blue will impose the sentence on Dec. 2.
"You have been exposed to images of depravity and horror that no human being should have to see," Blue said in thanking the jurors for their service. - Full story.


  1. I've gone from thinking if they should get the death penalty (his sidekick, too) to how many times can we execute them until I feel a sense of justice in this barbaric incident. Needless to say, these sentiments are completely wrong. But is this MONSTER should lose his life over this heinous criminal act, my heart will not break.

    Also worth mentioning: the local police department failed this poor family miserably.

  2. I'm sorry.
    In no way can I understand nor condone capital punishment; even for this kind of horrendous crime...for the family, my prayers, condolences and empathy.
    If this man was going to continue to be a menace to society; then, yes.
    If he's held in jail for the rest of his life, unable to contact anyone or be of any kind of harm to anyone...
    I just have such a difficult time condoning his death.
    Repentance maybe, just maybe might happen.
    I don't want to sound like a "soft-hearted liberal" here; but capital punishment, in my estimation, and according to the teachings of the Church, while allowed, seems in so many cases to be retribution, revenge, rather than justice.
    I saw the relatives of those killed by Timothy McVeigh practically "lick their lips" with revenge and hatred; how does that solve anything? How does that bring anyone closer to God, to our Lord Jesus? Revenge? How is that supposed to help anyone?
    Those are the questions I have; again...I'm not condoning anything this man has done; it's an abomination.
    How does killing him help?

  3. At first I thought too that this didn't really make the threshold of the CCC too but I am not so sure.

    How do you keep the rest of the population in prison and security guards safe from this madman?


  4. Carol: I don't know; this is my struggle, believe me.
    I want no one else to suffer at this madman's hands; his death has to be because he's a definite cause of danger or death to someone else.
    I know of other situations where mentally retarded or mentally deficient men/women were put to death...a real source of injustice, if you ask me, a real revenge againt someone who, although did something heinous, was mentally incompetent to be fully responsible; my fear here is that all kinds of mentally incompetent persons will be put to death for all kinds of things...a true injustice.
    I am probably prejudiced here; I have a sister who is mentally incompetent and know of men she has been involved with who are likewise mentally compromised; it is just so sad and awful.

  5. I never gave it a second thought - executing him is an act of mercy - the guy knows it - he even wants to be executed. It's a crap shoot - execute him or send him to prison and let him be torn to shreds by mad dogs. He'd be killed in prison, just like Dahmer and Fr. Geoghan. (sp?)

    Leave him to heaven.

  6. I know, Mr. Terry.
    I am just so sorrowful about this whole thing.
    Jesus, mercy!

  7. Father NP--bless you....but how would you feel if they moved next door to YOU??

    If something got "slipped" into their coffee, I don't think anyone would be really too torn up about it...

    We got the same thing going on in the Brian David Mitchell case here in Utah....the guy that kidnapped and repeatedly raped Elizabeth Smart...they're trying to cop an insanity plea... ya know...we have too many crazy people running around society...if they REALLY ARE mentally ill they they need to be put into institutions....wait, that's cruel and unusual punishment, plus governments don't have funding for mental institutions....

    Believe me... if he moved into the house next to me...I would protect me and my family..and wouldn't give him a chance to hurt them (or any other children).. I don't care if he DOES think he's a prophet from God...


  8. I used to be a big supporter of the death penalty, but now, not so much. Here in Texas, I think you could say it's been overused. I don't know what damage he could wreak in prison, more than likely he'll suffer quite a bit, but I'm just not able to work up the anger to want to see someone killed anymore, pretty much no matter what the crime (like Major Nasan, the Ft. Hood terrorist/killer). But, oddly, I'm not a pacifist, I am actually in favor of a robust national defense and even some kind of interventionist foreign policy in the proper circumstances. At this point in time, I just don't see the point in the death penalty, unless there really is a chance that harm could come to someone else, which is hard to fathom if someone gets life without parole (perhaps with hard labor as an added penance).

  9. This case, as heinous as it is, doesn't fit the criteria laid down by the Church as an acceptable reason to execute someone.

  10. Sara: I know, I know.
    I am just so aware of how mentally incompetent folks, who should be locked away for good, got executed, for whatever reason by the state...
    and sometimes the poor things were innocent...
    just call me a "bleeding heart liberal" in these situations; I do not in any condone what has happened to these poor victims; I am in complete solidarity with their "survivors" much much sadness...
    I just cannot in my heart of hearts think that the execution of someone is the answer to these horrid atrocities...definitely, they need to be put away from society; the public need to be protected, yeah.
    My moral theology prof (a well-known Dominican) even said that Mafia dons et. al. could make "hits" from prison...a reason to execute them because they caused danger to society...well, okay...
    but really...if we believe that human life is precious, even in the case of a serial killer, a bastard killer of innocents, then unless that person is in fact a threat to society (which is some cases, I do not doubt), why is death the answer?
    Death is the answer to our cultural problems, it seems...I'm not saying the death penalty is not moral; I'm just asking the question.
    That's all.

  11. Capital Punishment
    2266 The State's effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. The primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.[67]
    2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.
    "If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
    "Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.' [68] ******************************

    To disagree with the teachings of Holy Mother Church is to commit a material heresy.

    Law Enforcement and our Government need to be forced to reveal that which it knows to be true.

    In this case, the two perpetrators were involved in a homosexual relationship.

    Sooner or later this truth will come out.


  12. veneremurcernui: My brother-in-law was a former guard in an infamous Texas penitentiary...where inmates were executed...I've heard stories that I would not like to repeat. He's an advocate of the death penalty; I am, alas, not...unless someone is going to be a threat to society.
    He's not a Catholic, by the way.
    But he's a good man. Very good. He's the husband of my youngest Sister and the father of three of my nephews.

  13. Pablo: What are you referring to here?
    I mean, there is no question this man committed a heinous and atrocious crime.
    It's the punishment we're speaking of here...
    burning at the stake?
    drawn, hung and quartered?
    Is that what you want Really!!??
    Do some homework...we're not in the medieval times (sorry if I'm being ironic here)!
    Pablo, get a grip!

  14. michael r.7:24 AM

    Regarding a possible homosexual relationship between the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, I don't believe homosexual relationships are criminal anywhere in the USA. Are you suggesting, Pablo, that it makes their crimes worse?

    Also, not sure where you get your translation of the CCC, but the relevant sections read:

    "Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

    If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.

    Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm—without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself—the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not practically nonexistent." (CCC 2267)

  15. @Pablo: The Catholic Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty. Papa Bene said "if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion."

    That said, there are plenty of references from JPII and Divine Mercy that speak to our conscience.

  16. I repent - I'm in error - I will go to confession.

    Didn't change his sentence though, did it.

    And if his sentence is overturned on appeal... well... you know... Prison justice.

  17. To show the twists my thinking can take on a subject like this, I wondered some time back if without the death penalty, we would have our Catholic Faith? Jesus was executed by the state.

    I found that somewhat profound, but perhaps everyone has already considered that.

  18. I thought that - but was too afraid to say it. LOL!

  19. Anonymous4:39 PM

    The alternative seems to me to be far more terrible: to place someone in solitary confinement for the rest of their life is really just another form of a slow and excruciating torture. It's basically subjecting someone to a slow psychological death.

    Plus, if he ever gets to interact with other inmates, his own life would be in great danger as well. In fact, all of the lives of the police officers and other inmates are in potential danger. We often think to ourselves that nowadays we can protect human life because we have the means to lock people up for good. But the truth of the matter is within the prison system there is a society there where innocent and guilty lives are in constant danger. Check out any of those prison documentaries on TV and you'll see that the safety of a human life is not guaranteed simply by going to prison.


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