Keller @ Large: Spader – Death Penalty Poster Boy

By Jon Keller, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – If ever there was a worthy candidate for capital punishment, it’s Steven Spader, the violent psychopath convicted last week of the random murder of an innocent woman in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire and the attempted murder of her daughter.

There’s no question he committed the crime, it was premeditated, and there were no mitigating circumstances or evidence of remorse. Unfortunately, New Hampshire’s death penalty law is restricted to a handful of types of crime, such as killing for hire and murder of a law enforcement officer. Breaking into a stranger’s home and slaughtering them for kicks isn’t covered, although the local rep from Mont Vernon says he’s going to file a bill to include it.

The fact that Spader’s horrific crime isn’t punishable by death speaks to the effective lobbying of death-penalty opponents, who have done a fine job of making it as difficult and costly as possible to execute someone, while providing political cover for those who oppose capital punishment.

But the Spader case also exposes some glaring weaknesses in the case against the death penalty.

For instance, the Globe quotes Barbara Keshen, chairwoman of the New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, dismissing the notion that choosing to execute a vicious killer is in some cases the only real form of justice. “There are always going to be those people who are driven by a sense of what they consider to be justice and what other people consider to be vengeance,’’ she says, as if there were an unbridgeable gulf between vengeance and justice.

Keshen also claims there’s no proof that capital punishment deters crime, but ridding our world of Spader would certainly deter him from the crimes he will surely try to commit in prison.

And of course, she cites the high legal expense of administering the death penalty – yes, thanks to you and other obstructionists who make a career out of delaying justice.

Steve Spader is a disaster for the anti-death penalty zealots. He exposes their stance as a high-minded charade. One can only hope that in NH and elsewhere, saner heads will start to prevail.

Listen to Jon Keller’s commentary here:

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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