Monday, September 24, 2012


The claim that California would save a ton of money by abolishing the death penalty is a big lie; among the 729 inmates on death row, 14 are suspected of committing around 300 murders in addition to those for which they were condemned

Chris Bernstien responded to ‘A WARNING TO CALIFORNIA VOTERS: Do not abolish the death penalty!’ (9-22-12) with the following comments:

The arguments in support of Pro. 34, the ballot measure to abolish the death penalty, are exaggerated at best and, in most cases, misleading and false.

The money savings myth

Proposition 34 is being funded primarily by a wealthy company out of Chicago and the ACLU.

It includes provisions that would make our prisons less safe for both other prisoners and prison officials. It significantly increases the costs to taxpayers due to life-time medical costs, the increased security required to coerce former death-row inmates to work, the money to pay those inmates to work, etc.

The amount “saved” in order to help fund law enforcement is negligible and only for three years. (The money is taken from the general fund regardless of whether Prop 34 actually saves any money.)

Prop. 34 also takes away funds inmates could use to actually fight for their innocence, increasing the risk that innocent people will spend the rest of their lives in jail.

The dollars Prop. 34 takes away ensure both that innocent people are not executed or spend the rest of their lives in jail.

Get the facts and supporting evidence at,, and

Death row inmates and their victims

The 729 convicted murderers on death row were convicted of brutally killing at least 1,279 people. At least 230 of them were children. 75 more were young adults between the ages of 18-20. Another 82 victims were older than 65.

Of these victims, at least 211 of them were raped and 319 of them robbed. Sixty-six victims were killed in execution style, usually bound and shot in the back of the head. Forty-seven victims were tortured.

Forty-three of these victims were law enforcement agents and another seven were security guards. Not included in these numbers are cases where the killer attempted to kill a police officer, but was unsuccessful, as in the case of Oswaldo Amezcua who shot three police officers.

An important consideration in changing a killer’s sentence to life is whether he has murdered other inmates while incarcerated. Eleven death sentences were handed down after an already-incarcerated inmate murdered another inmate.

Troy Ashmus had previously killed an inmate and viciously attacked a deputy while incarcerated for another crime.

Joseph Barrett killed an inmate while incarcerated for having killed a teacher.

Kenneth Bivert killed an inmate while already incarcerated on three counts of murder.

John Capistrano had a previous conviction for killing an inmate and attacked another inmate in a holding cell.

Joseph Danks was already incarcerated for six murders when he killed the inmate which led to his death sentence.

Martin Drews was also serving time for murder when he killed an inmate. Similarly, Lee Capers brought a knife to court to stab one of the witnesses testifying against him.

While the murders for which these killers were sentenced to death are horrendous, the murder victims are only a part of the trail of violence left by these killers. Many had killed others before finally being sentenced to death for their most recent killing.

Others are suspected to have killed dozens more. For example, Randy Kraft is believed to have killed at least 65 other people.

Another serial killer, Glen Rogers, was convicted of killing three other people in three other states and confessed to his sister he was responsible for more than 70 killings.

Lawrence Bittaker is suspected to have raped and murdered another 30-40 victims in addition to the five for which he was sentenced to death.

Charles Ng, while convicted for murdering eleven people, is suspected to have killed up to 25 people.

Wesley Shermantine is believed to have killed 25 people even though only convicted for four. This year he has begun leading law enforcement to more bodies.

More than twenty additional murders have been attributed to Cleamon Johnson.

Police suspect William Suff murdered twenty woman in addition to the twelve for which he was convicted and sentenced to death.

Michael Allen is believed to have killed 12-20 more people in addition to the two he was sentenced to die for.

Franklin Lynch was linked to more than thirteen additional murders. David Carpenter was believed to have killed another 7-11 victims.

Anh Duong was suspected of having committed 7 murders and 15 armed robberies.

Kevin Haley was suspected in seven other homicides.

Dennis Webb admitted to five additional murders.

Steven Homick has also been sentenced to death in Nevada for 3 murders.

Malcolm Robbins admitted to or was convicted of killing four additional minors.

Thus, these [14] individuals alone are responsible for approximately another 300 murders.

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