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SCOTUS Denies Stay for Florida Repeat Killer

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Deborah Kammerer, 29, was raped and murdered in 1980.  The killer then dragged her into Tampa Bay.  It didn't need to happen.  Robert Waterhouse had previously been convicted of murdering a 77-year-old woman in Long Island during a burglary.  He was paroled after only 8 years.

Waterhouse has been sentenced to death twice for his second murder.  Mitch Stacy has this story for AP.

The US Supreme Court this morning denied a stay of execution.  No dissents are noted.

Update:  The execution was held up for two hours while SCOTUS considered and denied a second petition.  Again, no dissents are noted.  Mitch Stacy has this post-execution story for AP.

5 Comments

This is an important entry for two reasons. First, it illustrates what can -- and, every so often, will -- happen when we lose our nerve and decline to impose the DP the first time around. Abolitionists constantly tell us that we can achieve equal safety from secure imprisonment as from the DP, but this is false, and they must know it's false even as they speak.

Second, the folks promising us that life without parole REALLY means "without parole" come from the same mindset that decided to release this killer after eight years. The promise on "no parole, ever" is not to be believed. It's a political expedient, nothing more. They know the promise of LWOP is needed to sell the abolitionist agenda, so they'll say it.

But saying it is not believing it. A huge contingent of abolitionism believes, not just that the DP should go, but that the entire American criminal justice system is punitive to the point of being barbaric. They no more believe in LWOP than I believe in people from Saturn. The push for what they claim will be LWOP comes from the same group that, when parole was in their hands, cheerfully released Mr. Waterhouse. They must have known he was a risk; the problem was not lack of knowledge but lack of giving a hoot about future victims. And that is the same problem the country will have if it falls for this, "Oh, but we REALLY DO MEAN no parole, this time."

In order to believe in "no parole," you've got to believe in punishment, and way down deep, they don't.

"The push for what they claim will be LWOP comes from the same group that, when parole was in their hands, cheerfully released Mr. Waterhouse. They must have known he was a risk; the problem was not lack of knowledge but lack of giving a hoot about future victims."

I think some actually think that society deserves their predations. Of course, society is made up of individuals--e.g., single moms trying to raise kids who didn't do anything to anyone.

The world will be a better place when Waterhouse leaves it.

Why states hold up executions for last-minute appeals is beyond me. If there is no stay, then the chemicals should flow.

Voluntarily delaying a few hours so that the court does not need to issue a stay can be a valid strategy in some circumstances, IMHO.

I understand that point of view, and I don't necessarily disagree. A few points: (a) the victims' families may be there--I cannot imagine the agony of people who have waited over thirty years for justice to have a delay (with the uncertainty) so one more court can pick over the case, (b) knowing that the state will wait encourages these last-minute filings and (c) some of these stays have been granted, which means that the stays have cost real people justice.

It is an affront to the dignity of the state. When a date is set after years of appeals, that date and time should have some certainty--and that certainty should not be upset by the mere filing of an appeal that almost certainly is either duplicative or could have been filed much earlier in the process.

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