What a shame that Pennsylvania still has the death penalty.
However people feel about the moral justification for execution, it means taxpayers must pay through the nose for people like Michael Parrish for years, most likely decades, to come, because they cost more sentenced to die than to live indefinitely in prison.
The 26-year-old, who shot to death his 21-year-old girlfriend and their 19-month-old son in 2009, will appeal and appeal, his bearded face appearing again and again in the news as his case winds through the interminable legal process. The convert to Islam will invoke Allah, as he did when he received his sentence, as if that declaration trumps his murderous past. And we’ll have to see photos of a slowly aging Parrish wearing a white kufi cap, with staring eyes and impassive expression, time after time as his lawyers argue for clemency or a new trial or whatever it takes to avert execution.
In our view, it would be far better to sentence someone like this to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Study after study shows that at every phase of a case, a capital murder case costs far more, typically hundreds of thousands of dollars more, than murder cases that don’t involve the death penalty. …