Friday, July 13, 2007

Elijah Page - South Dakota

The State of South Dakota executed Elijah Page on Wednesday night. Page had waived all appeals in a letter to the governor of South Dakota and had asked to be executed. An account of his execution is described here in an AP article in the Sioux City Journal. Page was 25 years old when he died.

Originally from East Texas, Elijah Page was sentenced to die in South Dakota for the brutal torture and killing of Chester Allan Poage, who was 19. Page's family claims that his requests for his own death were based on his inability to deal with his guilt and the memories of his own brutality. Such an attitude is actually one of the (many) reasons I disagree with State-assisted suicide (other assisted suicide is a different story). It may sound strange coming from me, but I don't think that those who have committed such abhorrent crimes should be able to get out of their guilt that easily. Query: how does it serve justice to put someone who cannot stand his own brutality out of his misery? How does it serve justice to give him what he desires? In some cases, death is an easy way out. (Yet, see below on my queries and opinions regarding the State's hypocrisy in suicide situations).

Page's execution was the first execution in South Dakota in over 60 years. It was also the first execution utilizing the State's lethal injection procedure. For more information on this execution and concerns with the death penalty and methods of execution in South Dakota, please see this article in the New York Times. And, for more information on Elijah Page, his crimes and his victim, Chester Poage, please see this article in the Argus Leader.

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