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The story by Eddie Dean about Prince William County prosecutor Paul Ebert (“Alleged Killer, Proven Killer,” 11/22) was tremendously witty, somehow even humorous, but so honest and to the point that it seems even the most hard-core death-penalty advocates would be forced to look inward and re-evaluate their position. I’m so glad there are others out there who feel the same way about how barbaric the death penalty is and can express it so well.
My daughters went to Chantilly High with Justin Wolfe and know many of the characters in that case quite well. As a local parent, I can easily say that despite all the problems he had with drug dealing and the problems it caused other kids, it is an atrocity that they have given him the death penalty for capital murder at 20 based on nothing more than the cell-phone records that showed he had contact with the killer and the killer’s testimony that he told him to do it. There was a 48 Hours program about this case where jurors were interviewed, and even they didn’t seem certain about what happened—but they still found him guilty. In effect, they sentenced him to death on the basis of an hour of deliberation, the word of the actual killer, and “circumstantial evidence.”
Also, when will people like Paul Ebert and others who support the death penalty understand that those who commit violent crimes are simply a product of the society we have all helped to create and that, in that sense, we all share some responsibility? A little more compassion toward our fellow human beings and early intervention would go a lot further in helping to stop this vicious cycle and act as much more of a “preventative” than the death penalty ever will.
Read more about Justin Wolfe at www.justice4justin.com and help save a young man’s life.