Pat and Tom Nicarico, whose 10-year-old daughter Jeanine was abducted from their Naperville home and killed in 1983, are among those urging the Illinois Senate and Gov. Pat Quinn not to follow suit with the House's vote to abolish the death penalty. Jeanine's killer, Brian Dugan, was sentenced to death in 2009. The Nicaricos issued the following statement on the House vote:
The news of the vote is more than disappointing, it feels like our almost 28-year odyssey seeking justice for Jeanine's murder has been overturned. It is not so much that Brian Dugan would not be executed were capital punishment abolished, rather the anguish is that the law would prohibit all possibility of execution.
The Illinois House's vote to abolish the death penalty is not an act of prudence and caring, it is an act of cowardice, laziness and disregard for justice. It is cowardly because it takes on the mantle of some high-minded morality while it is actually shirking the difficult steps in administering just penalties for serious crimes; it simply avoids taking political and moral responsibility for capital punishment. It is lazy because it eliminates the necessity to further evaluate the latest legal reforms and makes moot the need for further research into the matter; it's the easy way out of a burdensome predicament. If the system is broken, fix it -- don't destroy it.
There may be some who feel that capital punishment is never warranted, but these people need to consider some infamous Illinoisans, such as Richard Speck, John Wayne Gacy, Andrew Kokoraleis, etc. Then there are other infamous murderers like Ted Bundy and the very recent Steven Hayes in Connecticut. Such people do exist. They do live among us, right now. To think that such people do not deserve capital punishment is not only naive, it's simply wrong. If you can turn the other cheek to such people, more power to you. But our government and our judicial system was never tasked to turn it's cheek, it is tasked to administer justice. True justice is not always pleasant.
Hopefully, the Illinois Senate and the Gov. Quinn will have the moral conviction to do the right thing, not buckle under the weight of a well orchestrated abolition campaign, and maintain capital punishment on the books.