192. Please Don't Hurt Me!

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Henry killed a young girl. The girl had been walking by Henry's house after school. Henry invited her inside to see some new puppies. When the girl came inside, Henry killed her. Henry had lied to the girl; there were no puppies. The girl's parents called the police when she didn't come home. The police finally caught Henry. There was a trial. The judge sentenced Henry to death. Henry went to prison. That was 30 years ago. Henry has been fighting his death penalty. He does not want to die. He thinks it isn't fair. Two wrongs do not make a right, he says. For 30 years, taxpayers have paid about $30,000 a year to feed and care for Henry in prison.

Last month, Henry was finally scheduled to die by lethal injection. But his lawyer argued that death by injection was painful. He argued that Henry shouldn't suffer in his final moments. The California Supreme Court agreed. The court said that the lethal drugs might make Henry suffer. Such suffering would be "cruel and unusual" punishment. Such punishment violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Henry remains in his comfortable cell. He watches TV. He reads books, magazines, and newspapers. He listens to music. Henry will die only if California figures out how to kill him painlessly.

The family of the murdered girl is upset. Her dad said, "He'll probably die of old age in his sleep. My daughter has been dead for 30 years. But her killer is still alive. He eats three hot meals a day. He gets free medical care. He gets free dental care. He hurt my daughter, but the state cannot hurt him. My family and I suffer, while he enjoys life. It's not fair."


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