Defense lawyers believe a jury should spare the life of Arthur Lee Gales Jr. for the sake of his relatives. The prosecution says Gales should be executed for his crimes. You decide.
Exactly one year ago this week, Gales and his former girlfriend Judy Chandler had an argument over another man the woman was now dating. The argument grew violent. When police finally arrived, Judy Chandler had been left near death on railroad tracks, beaten severely. But the crime spree had only begun.
Chandler's two children - Latara, a 13-year-old girl and Tramar, a 7-year-old boy - had apparently witnessed the beating. So in Gales' twisted mind, the two children became a liability.
He found them in the woman's apartment. First he raped the girl before strangling her to death. Then he drowned the young boy in the bathtub.
Gales was quickly captured but maintained his innocence. Without any witnesses, police used sophisticated DNA testing to prove his guilt. A judge this week sentenced Gales to the electric chair. An appeal is automatic in Nebraska where the crime occurred.
Prosecutors told the judge about Gales' criminal history which included sexual assault and armed robbery. The defense urged the judge to spare his life for the sake of his relatives. In the end, the judge handed down the ultimate sentence.
Only two states still use the electric chair. Nebraska is one of those states.
There are millions of capital punishment opponents in this nation. I'm not one of them however. It would be interesting to ask one of those opponents their view on Arthur Lee Gales Jr. In my opinion, life in prison would be a cakewalk for Gales. He'd fit in just fine with prison life. He'd live a long life at taxpayer expense. And I doubt seriously if he'd think about those victims for one fleeting moment.
No my friends, life in prison without the chance of parole is not equal to the death sentence. And Gales deserves a punishment that fits his crime. The electric chair that stands ready in Nebraska is the appropriate punishment in this case. The sooner the better.