A man who tortured and beat his 5-year-old daughter to death has asked for mercy -- so he can be a father. Yes, that's the terrible irony of the case of Naeem Williams, who admits to beating his daughter, Talia, for most of her life. In fact, it went beyond beatings. Reportedly, he and his second wife, Talia's stepmother, basically tortured the girl for months -- including leaving a bald spot in her head where they yanked out her hair, starving her for days, and stomping on her until her bones cracked. Eventually, Naeem dealt the little girl a death blow, punching her so hard, he left the imprint of his knuckles on her chest. Brutal and disgusting. What absolutely no child should ever experience.
Naeem was found guilty of capital murder in April. Now the ex-Army soldier might be the first person ever put to death in Hawaii. However, he wants to live. Not surprising. People who have zero regard for the life of others often value their own highly.
I'm generally against the death penalty; however, I wouldn't cry over the loss of this "father" -- I use the term lightly. This little girl was horribly abused and tortured for months, if not years, by the very man who admits he should have been "helping and protecting" her. Talia's five agonizing years on this planet were nothing but pain and heartbreak. Hard to feel for a man like this who is going to die.
But Naeem is fighting for his life. His reason why he should live? So he can be a father to his two other children. Yes, while he was beating their sibling to death, Naeem had other children, a boy and a girl.
And those two kids, now 11 and 9, say they need their father -- such as he is. They email him. They talk with him on the phone. Occasionally they visit. He may not be much of a dad, but he's the only one they have. And they don't want to see him die. Asked how he feels about his father, the boy broke down and sobbed, "I love my dad. I really need him."
Sad, sad, sad. Should this man live so that he can at least give a little bit of parenting, the tiny bit he is capable of, to two kids who feel they need it from him? If he dies, then what? Can anyone guarantee these kids will be better off knowing the state put their father to death? What kind of dysfunction will that sew in these children that might explode as adults, causing society even more headaches?
And what about Naeem himself, should he be put to death or should he have to think hard for the rest of his life about what he did? He has expressed remorse, crying and saying, "Talia deserved a better father than me." But this wasn't one or two beatings. This was systemic torture. Hard to know if Naeem can really feel for Talia.
A terrible and complex topic. I think about what it would be like for those kids to know their father was strapped down and killed. And the little fathering they get taken away from them. Maybe he needs to spend the rest of his life in prison really making amends to Talia.
Should he be put to death?
Image via FBI