Neely Goen writes the OpEd, "Costly death penalty isn’t protecting Kansans," in today's Wichita Eagle.
I never met my dad. My mom was pregnant with me when three men murdered my father, Conroy O’Brien, a Kansas state trooper.
What should have been a routine traffic stop near Matfield Green changed the course of many lives.
My mother wasn’t the only one devastated. Many people were outraged that an officer had been murdered in the line of duty. My father’s murder, along with other cases, led people to call for a return of the death penalty, which Kansas eventually reinstated in 1994.
This was fine with me. Having spent my entire life without my dad, I was angry and had wanted his killers executed.
But over time, after I saw how the death penalty system actually works, my feelings on the issue changed.
What I’ve discovered is a legal process that no murder victim’s family should have to endure. We already have been through enough. We deserve better than a system that forces us to go through long trials and endless appeals. The death penalty focuses an incredible amount of attention on the killers, which makes victims’ families relive the painful details of a murder over and over.
It is time for Kansas to re-establish itself as a leader on this issue. The state first repealed capital punishment back on Jan. 30, 1907. It is a good time for lawmakers to re-evaluate the death penalty. They will find a broken, wasteful system that does nothing to protect the people of Kansas and can hurt murder victims’ families.
Related posts are in the victims' issues index.