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Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 06:09 am

Letters to the Editor 2/17/11

Electons and the death penalty



This is perhaps the most important Springfield mayoral election in generations. Central issues this time are bean counting and professional management. None of the other ideas that you and I might like to talk about will matter unless we can get a competent mayor to manage the city. This primary is critical. The field includes some with professional experience running a city, and others with niche experience at best. Voters would do well to eliminate professional patronage candidates and those with cute slogans backed by funding from friends in high places.

Springfield needs proven accomplishment this time, not another trainee.

John Levalley


You don’t have to declare your party to vote in the consolidated primary election Feb. 22. This is a non-partisan primary, meaning no party labels will be on the ballot. Only the names of the seven mayoral candidates will be there.

This is different from the partisan primaries in even-numbered years, where to vote you have to publicly state whether you are a Democrat or Republican and your declaration is recorded permanently at the county election office. Many people are scared to vote in even-year primaries because of this. Don’t let that scare you from voting Feb. 22. No election official will ask your party affiliation.

Sam Cahnman
Open Primary Advocate


Abolishment of the death penalty in Illinois is now one signature away from being the law of the land. I would like to share some information obtained while researching my recent book concerning a notorious serial killer. Timothy Krajcir is currently incarcerated at Stateville Prison for two murders in Illinois, one in Carbondale and one in Marion. Not all crime scenes yielded evidence implicating Krajcir. The convictions were largely obtained through confessions.

How? Krajcir remains today remorseless and without compassion for his victims. But through newer DNA analysis, enough evidence was brought to bear to tie him to more than one murder in both Missouri and Illinois. An agreement was reached, initially with Missouri, and then across the board, that in exchange for a full confession of his crimes, the death penalty would subsequently be taken off the table. However, any material omissions would result in reinstatement of said penalty. These confessions launched a huge investigative undertaking, resulting in more charges levied, more cases solved, and more survivors and loved ones consoled and given closure.

Answers would never have been forthcoming without one motivating factor: Krajcir’s adamant desire to avoid the death penalty at all costs. The leverage this gave to law enforcement was put to good use against a man who viewed other human life as far less valuable than his own.

The question, then, that both the citizens and the governor must pose to themselves is: Do I want to take this tool, the penalty of death that can be intelligently applied, taken away from the community of laws?

Bonney Hogue Patterson
Author, Hunted in the Heartland: A Memoir of Murder
Contact her at www.huntedintheheartland.com.


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