The Los Angeles Times publishes the column, "Manson and 'Night Stalker' murderers and California justice," by Patt Morrison.
The death penalty is much more expensive in California than life in prison without parole -- about $184 million a year more. A three-year study found that each execution costs the state nearly a third of a billion dollars. Billion, with a “b.”
Death penalty economics, compounded with concerns about the possible factual innocence of death row inmates, explains the mend-it-or-end-it reasoning that has shifted attitudes in California, although not enough to push the anti-death penalty measure over the 50% mark last November. And Ramirez is the gruesome poster boy for death penalty supporters, who argue that if ever anyone deserved to be executed, it was the Night Stalker.
Two days before Ramirez died, a former death row inmate named Leslie Van Houten had her 20th parole hearing. She was turned down, again.
Had TV cameras been allowed into the hearing, they would have shown Van Houten as gray-haired and wrinkled and looking older than her 63 years. She was a 19-year-old follower of Charles Manson when she and her cohorts murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their Los Feliz home in August 1969.
Earlier coverage from California begins at the link.