It's hard to see such grim news as good news, but it's at least a relief: Donald Moeller, a man who was convicted of raping and killing a 9-year-old girl 20 years ago, has admitted that he deserves to be executed. "I killed. I deserve to be killed." This summer we wrote about how Tina Curl, the mother of victim Becky O'Connell, was hoping to raise enough travel funds to watch Moeller's execution.
Moeller's execution is scheduled for October 28, but it's being held up by a challenge to the constitutionality of lethal injection. And now the lawyers are saying Moeller isn't mentally competent (because he was abused as a child) to push for his own execution. But what I'm wondering is what this means to Tina, the mother who still mourns the brutal loss of her daughter.
Ordinarily I'm not a fan of the death penalty. I don't think it's much of a deterrent and it uses up a colossal amount of taxpayer dollars to support. But when it comes to adults who murder children -- especially in such a horrific and violent way -- I take exception to my rule. I imagine how that child's parents must feel and I find myself thinking very differently about the death penalty.
Obviously killing off Donald Moeller is not going to bring back Becky O'Connell or undo the terror she faced in the last moments of her life. But I imagine it could give her mother some closure, knowing her daughter's killer is finally gone. Wouldn't that give her a little peace? Wouldn't it bring her nightmare to a close?
As for whether Donald Moeller is mentally competent to insist on his execution -- I suspect he's competent enough. Honestly, I can't imagine hating the death penalty so much that I would stand in the way of the execution of a child rapist and murderer. I think the death penalty is heinous. But I think Moeller's crime is so much worse.
Do you think Moeller is sane enough to know if he deserves to be executed?
Image via South Dakota Department of Corrections