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13
May

a sentence of death and its aggravators

There are a total of 15 possible aggravators that the State of Florida can use to measure whether the severity of a crime rises to meet the requirements of applying the death penalty law.

Although the State did not list the aggravating factors they were considering when they filed their death penalty notice for Casey Anthony, they have answered today. This afternoon, the state of Florida filed a motion that lists five (5) out of a possible 15 aggravating factors that correspond with the murder of Caylee Marie Anthony.

The 5 aggravating factors used by the people of the State of Florida will be:

Florida Statute 921.141(5) D, H I, L, and M.

The five aggravating factors, as written are:

D) The capital felony was committed while the defendant was engaged, or was an accomplice, in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit, any: robbery; sexual battery; aggravated child abuse; abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; arson; burglary; kidnapping; aircraft piracy; or unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb.

H) The capital felony was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.

I) The capital felony was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification.

L) The victim of the capital felony was a person less than 12 years of age.

M) The victim of the capital felony was particularly vulnerable due to advanced age or disability, or because the defendant stood in a position of familial or custodial authority over the victim.

I have never given a great deal of thought to the death penalty until I saw the movie Dead Man Walking, and learned about the work of Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking.

Sister Helen became a very passionate activist against the death penalty after becoming a pen-pal and then a spiritual advisor to Patrick Sonnier, a Louisiana convicted murderer.  Sonnier was waiting on death row for his appointment with death when he and Sister Helen began their correspondence.

When Sonnier requested that Sister Helen become his Spiritual Advisor while he awaits his appointment with death, she began visiting him.  This was the mid 1980’s and Sister Helen had the unusual opportunity to see close-up how the death system worked, which, of course, prompted her book, followed by the movie of the same name.

The book:  Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize,  was also an international best seller and has been translated into 10 different languages.

If you live in a state with the death penalty, as I do (in Florida), then the state will murder via the death penalty in your name. You and I pay for the death penalty via our state taxes. You see, we are the people of the state, and the good people in the State Attorney’s offices work directly for us.

Please know, I do not disrespect the law, on the contrary, I believe in the law, I uphold the law and am proud to be in the United States of America where the law, for the most part, is equal for all….well, at its heart, it is.

I also support Attorney Andrea Lyon in her quest to free Casey Anthony from the death penalty.

It should not be inferred that I think Casey Anthony does not deserve punishment if she is found guilty of capital murder, on the contrary.  But I will never wish death upon Casey Anthony.

To learn more about forgiveness, listen to Sister Helen in the short clip below.  Take the journey and learn about her work. Learn about the death penalty. Vote for Leaders who do not support it.

Websites dedicated to the work of Sister Helen Prejean:

http://www.prejean.org/

http://www.deathpenaltydiscourse.org/

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