Life or Death? Speak!

I’m sure most people have very clear beliefs when it comes to a life sentence versus the death penalty, so I wanted to present the following scenario and see where you all stand on this issue.

Stephen Hayes has been in the news lately following a long overdue conviction last month. Hayes invaded a Connecticut home in 2007 and murdered a mother and her two children, after savagely beating Dr. William Petit (husband and father). Dr. Petit’s wife was sexually assaulted then strangled, while her two daughters were tied to their beds and left to die in a gasoline-fueled fire. They died of smoke inhalation. The Petits’ 11-year old daughter was sexually assaulted by Hayes’ accomplice.

Hayes has been sentenced to death – a sentence that he hoped for. I would want to die too if I had committed such heinous crimes against a mother and her two children. But death is too easy. Death means that Hayes will never be forced to sit in a cell and ponder his actions. It means he will never feel tormented by his own thoughts, or have nightmares as a result of his guilty feelings. Yes, I think he should suffer mentally and emotionally. I think he should feel tormented by his own guilt. However, seeing him smile at the news of his death sentence leads me to believe that no amount of time in prison will cause this man to feel remorse or guilt. So is death a better solution? I’d like to quote fellow blogger Jon’ette on this one:

…I don’t think that Hayes will ever think about his actions and feel remorse.  Some people are just shepherds for the devil and he is obviously one of them!  If you can set a person, a child no less, on fire, then you have no feelings!  That makes me feel like why waste people’s hard earned tax money on keeping that loser alive?”

Good point.

I suppose in some ways, Hayes’ could get the ‘best’ of both worlds – it could take years before he dies, which means he’ll have time to think about what he’s done. For a more detailed look at this case, check out this link and then report back – I want to hear what you think.




17 thoughts on “Life or Death? Speak!

  1. Jonette, I’m not sure if the husband sued the police? But God, I sure hope he did! They absolutely did the wrong thing, and the cost was those poor girls lives. Just a horribly sad tragedy. My heart goes out to William Petit.

    • @A, I’m almost positive he did. Not for monetary reasons, but to force them to put new procedures in place. I say good for him! I still can’t believe how horribly the police responded to that situation!

  2. As promised!! 🙂

    I love discussions like this, I could literally talk with someone for hours on this debate!!

    I remember seeing the story on Dateline about a month and a half ago, and it infuriated me, not only the crime, but the failure of intervention from the police.

    I have to agree with your post, if for nothing else, solely for the fact that he actually WANTS to die; It’s very simple; Let the punishment fit the crime! They should let him rot in jail. Fellow in-mates do not take kindly to child molesters, you get the idea… So at least the pain he inflicted on this poor family, he’d get a taste of. Let him spend everyday for the next 40 years wishing he were dead, then at least we’d see some form of justice. Doing him the favor by giving him a needle in the arm, ouch and off to sleep he goes, is far too easy of a way out.

  3. I have mixed emotions on this one. For the most part, I am against the death penalty. Let me explain why before anyone brings out the arsenal. 😉 Having a biological sciences degree, I spent a few years investigating and researching criminal cases. There are a few things that I learned about the criminals, as well as the victims families. Cases where the criminals were sentenced to death, their energy was spent in appealing the sentence rather than facing the crime they committed and more money is spent in the legal process than would have been spent on jailing them for the rest of their life. Most people don’t know that and so a money issue and tax payers dollars really don’t apply to that argument. From a families standpoint, they always want instant gratification but get more closure with a life sentence. The process of death sentence appeals is horror for the victim’s family where they have to relive the entire experience 2 to 3 more times. Also, after the initial pain and shock of losing a loved one in a traumatic way, they would ultimately rather see the criminal suffer in jail than get the easy way out.

    There are always exceptions to these scenarios, but this is generally what I learned and it shaped my opinion.

    • I’ll take your word for it. However, in spite of the money issue, you mention that focusing on appeals takes the criminals mind off of facing the crimes they committed. I do not believe for a second that man will face what he did. He doesn’t give a damn, which is why he murdered 3 people. I’m just saying.

      • Let me clarify that my explanation was of where I based my opinion of the topic and was a general statement of what I studied overall, which was not intended for this specific individual. No two criminals nor their cases are the same. I stated that the “energy” was spent on the appeals process. This gives the criminal an alternative focus, rather than coming to the realization of their ultimate outcome. Whether a criminal cares about his victims is not the issue, its obvious that they do not. Generally, the average person does care about their own ultimate outcome, which they can only begin to ponder and suffer in once its been officially decided. Going through years of appeals and hoping for a pardon only prolongs this.

  4. I agree with Kerry 100%! Why give him what he wants? Death is the easy way out. Having to live with what he did for years and years is a greater punishment.

  5. I can’t really say I have an informed opinion on the death penalty because I’ve never lived in a country that has one.

    Part of me would like him to live in prison for the rest of his life so that he can ponder what he did and wake up every day knowing that he did a terrible thing.
    The other part of me would want the ‘eye for an eye’ thing. But deep down, I don’t agree with that as the ideal punishment.

    It’s a difficult topic to discuss. Even if you think that you have no bias and can carry on a rational conversation about the death sentence, everyone has a bias.

    Still…he should pay for what he did. If he specifically asked for the death sentence, I would make sure as hell he DIDN’T get it – because that would be giving him what he wants, and he doesn’t deserve anything he ‘wants’ ever again.

    • That’s exactly what I think – if he wants to die, then he should not be allowed to do so. Based on his actions, I don’t feel that he should be entitled to make a choice.

  6. It’s interesting that Connecticut was all but ready to rid their state of the death penalty until these two assholes were arrested! That speaks volumes to me. Whether or not people agree with the death penalty, I think everyone can agree that either way, we’re pleased that in the name of justice, the 3 lost lives and 1 forever changed life that Hayes and his miserable accomplice are behind bars and have zero chance of getting out! I have to be honest, if I live in CT, I would want him to get the death penalty because I wouldn’t want one red cent of my money feeding that piece of trash!

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