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May 31, 2006

Another serial killer pleads to avoid death penalty

It is often hoped that the death penalty will operate to ensure that the "worst of the worst" receive society's ultimate punishment.  However, this AP story from Illinois provides a sober reminder that sometimes to very worst murderers are able to strike plea bargains to avoid the death penalty:

A serial killer who prosecutors say burned some of his victims to ash and bits of bone in his backyard pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing eight women.  Under a deal with prosecutors, Larry Bright, 39, escaped a possible death sentence and instead will get life in prison without parole.

Of course, perhaps the most notorious example of this phenomenon involved Gary Ridgway, the so-called Green River Killer.  Ridgway may have killed more than 50 persons in Washington, but he avoided the death penalty through a plea deal.   (As detailed here, the Ridgway case has had some notable ripple effects on how the death penalty is viewed in Washington.)

May 31, 2006 at 03:35 AM | Permalink

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