Sing Like a Bird or Fry Like One

The death penalty is absurd in the 21st century. In a country founded on “give me liberty or give me death” the ultimate punishment of death is contrary to our own stated belief system regarding the attributes of punishment. Clearly, the depravation of liberty is a far more severe penalty than a quick death. That glaring inconsistency aside, we still have the penalty and clearly the recent conviction of Antolin Garcia Torres for the horrible killing of Sierra LaMar has all the hallmark requisites for its implementation.

The evidence against Torres was overwhelming. New technology and DNA matches showed he was guilty and there is no reasonable doubt in the minds of law enforcement, the jury or the public. The Sheriff’s Office did a tremendous job collecting the evidence and the District Attorney’s Office laid out that evidence for the jury. Case solved.

There is one major factor missing. There is no corpus delicti–in fact the search goes on for the child’s body. In the past, this fact alone has led to acquittals of defendants. But with new science comes new results. DNA matches prove a person’s guilt without the necessity of supplying the body. But the family and friends of Sierra still grieve and she deserves to be put to rest by the people who loved her.

In this regard, Torres can do himself, Sierra’s family and the community a service. It is not redemption; that can never occur. But if Torres were to come clean and tell what he knows regarding where Sierra is located; it would be a sign of taking responsibility, remorse and, some compassion for his victim and her family.

It might even keep him from the death penalty; though I am sure no “deal” will be cut for his cooperation. At this point his best opportunity is to simply do the right thing; which might be beyond his capacity–given his crime. But self-preservation is a huge incentive; if he wants compassion for himself–he may want to show some contrite and remorseful behavior for his victim and their family.

Otherwise, why would a jury ever need to show the same to him?

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