About three or four times a year, a piece of crime news will cross my desk from the Associated Press that helps illustrate my support for the death penalty. You can imagine my surprise when two such cases appeared this week alone. If ever there were candidates for the death penalty, the following two examples should help clear the air.
Timothy McClendon, 27, of Kansas City, did a bit of heavy drinking following Thanksgiving dinner. Following the meal, McClendon and his girlfriend returned to her apartment. The couple argued and McClendon beat the girlfriend. Then he went to a bar where he met two men. The men gave him a ride back to the girlfriend's apartment but McClendon instead decided to fire a few random gunshots in the neighborhood - just for holiday fun, I assume. Thankfully, no one was struck by the gunfire.
But McClendon then got into an argument with the friends who had given him a ride. So he pistol-whipped the driver and stole the car. For some reason, McClendon then started taking random shots at passing vehicles. This time, his aim was better and two women were shot dead.
There was no connection between the two victims and McClendon. They were simply at the wrong place and at the wrong time. And their lives ended the moment McClendon drove by.
Earlier this month, police say Leonard Taylor killed his girlfriend and her three children in suburban St. Louis and then fled. He was arrested last week in Kentucky trying to elude police. Police have yet to determine a motive for the four murders.
Taylor has 17 aliases and has been in and out of prison for drug crimes. He is also wanted for murder in California under one of those aliases.
So there you have it - two criminals and six dead victims. All murders are obviously senseless but these are especially cruel. Not one of the victims was robbed or had threatened the murderers. They were just random and senseless. And the murders were committed by career criminals.
The death penalty has a place in society. In these cases, the death penalty should be used - the sooner the better.