Thursday, April 28, 2005

Bill Benefiel, Jr. - Indiana

The State of Indiana executed Bill Benefiel, Jr. during the early morning of April 21, 2005 (another one of those, we're-so-ashamed-of-it-we-do-it-in-the-middle-of-the-night killings). Benefiel had been on death row for almost eighteen years. According to his attorney, he was mentally ill and had refused to participate in the activities meant to prevent his death.

The mother of one of Benefiel's victims told the Associated Press how relieved she was that Benefiel's execution had finally come. She told the AP that she was going to try to put Benefiel as far behind her as possible. She was very much for Benefiel's murder. Its taken eighteen years for Indiana to kill Bill Benefiel. Again, I have to wonder, wouldn't it have been easier to just put him "as far behind you as possible" eighteen years ago by knowing that he was locked in a small box of a room for the rest of his days on earth? Does the fact that he's dead mean that she'll think of him less? I guess I hope so. At least that way, some small positive thing will come out of the execution.

Benefiel executed by chemical injection


Unknown said...

I lived in Terre Haute, IN at the time this murder was committed.
If you knew anything about this case, you would know that at the sentancing phase of the trial, the mother & husband of the murder victim, his other rape victim and others all requested that he NOT receive the death penalty. They wanted him to get life without parole so he would be in the general prison population and get a little of his own medicine. This would have been a more fitting punishment and, in all likelihood, resulted in his death in a much shorter period than the 18 years it took for the death penalty process to run its course.
As an opponent of the death penalty, would you have followed this case if he had been give life in prision and been his advocate when he was murdered by another inmate?

CarrieJ said...

Opposition to the death penalty and prisoners' rights are certainly related, and prisoners rights is a cause I care about deeply. That said, for now, I focus my energy on the men and women who are sentenced to die and who are killed by our government (and the policies surrounding that). Perhaps at a later time, I will spend my energies on following the lives of murderers who go behind bars and are beaten/murdered/mistreated by other inmates or guards. I am saddened by the senseless murders that take place in prisons because the corrections system cannot protect violent men from one another. However, socially and morally, those murders present an entirely different question than the question involved when the government decides to murder someone itself. So, would I have been his advocate? Against his death? Yes. If prisoners' rights was a cause I was championing the way I'm championing abolition of the death penalty, then yes, I might have advocated for him if he'd been killed in prison (I say might simply because of the sheer number of individuals involved). I don't think that any person deserves to die at the hands of another person in ANY case... where on a gurney or in a prison cell.

I hope that someday there is no death penalty so that I can refocus my energies to prisoners' rights (be it lifers in danger of being murdered or individuals raped at the hands of each other and the guards or poor living conditions, etc.). For now, however, I focus my energies on the those our government has decided murder its very own self.

CarrieJ said...

On another note, if what you say about the victim's mother and the sentencing phase is true, then it is equally troubling that she had to wait until Benefiel's execution to find some closure. If she asked for life imprisonment and didn't get it and instead had to watch appeal after appeal, that had to have been excrutiating for her.