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"The death penalty is reserved for the worst criminals who commit the worst crimes -- such as the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people, the killing and dismembering of 15 men and boys by Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy's killing of 30 women -- and Jonathan Parker never came close to meeting that standard."

This argument, printed in a recent issue of The News, was given as one of the main reasons the Parker jury rejected the death penalty. It is also the reason for my outrage.

I am a Catholic and I truly don't know how I would have voted in this case. But the reason given above is an affront to every law-enforcement officer and law-abiding citizen.

Are we saying that because Parker killed one officer instead of 10 or 20 that this was not considered one of the worst crimes? What kind of message are we sending to the rest of the criminal element in our area?

Law-enforcement officers leave their loved ones and the comfort and safety of their homes to go into high-crime areas. They put their lives on the line to protect people they don't know from being prey for those who would do them harm.

Can these jurors imagine the fear that the families of these courageous men and women experience each time their loved ones leave for work?

One of the reasons the death penalty was enacted was to serve as a deterrent to killing a police officer.

I can only hope that subsequent juries will not let this case set a precedent for not voting for the death penalty, especially when a police officer is slain.

I am not criticizing these jurors for their decision. That is their constitutional right. However, I am criticizing them for believing that the killing of Officer Skip McDougald never came close to meeting the standard for which the death penalty was enacted. Tell that to his family.

Tony sisti Sr. Sloan

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