“Patricia Pendergrass, whose 27-year-old brother Bryon Schletewitz died when Allen’s hitman blasted him in the head, kept her hands clenched together and her lips pursed tightly from start to finish — and then, as the official notice of his death was read off, she allowed herself the slightest hint of a smile.*”
By all accounts, Clarence Ray Allen was not a very nice man, well into his fifties, when he ordered the executions of several people from prison. His case has become important because death penalty supporters like to use him as a posterchild–“look, see, you can’t just give them life in prison, because people might die anyway!” Allen turned 76 on Monday. Contrary to reports of extreme physical disability, he walked into the execution chamber and also was clearly able to see, although he certainly didn’t die in optimal health. Allen had recently embraced his Native American roots and spiritual traditions–his spiritual advisors were Native American and he went into the death chamber with several symbolic items. I hope that this eased his soul in its passing.
Pendergrass has something else to share with us: “I don’t think this execution will wipe away the pain. But what it will do is close a chapter. He made not just our families victims, but those in his own family who must now lose him victims too — we have all suffered, for different reasons. I want it to be done.”
I’m sad that she feels the only way in which justice can be dealt is by making other people suffer. I’m sad that a man my grandfather’s age was killed by the state in my name this morning, and that his heart was so resilient that he required additional drugs to be murdered. I’m sad that we still don’t have a moratorium on executions, and that Michael Morales is scheduled to die in my name next month.
Remember kids: murder is always wrong.