Social Question

jca's avatar

Why do people talk about the prisoner who suffered from the botched execution, but not about the young lady who was his victim and died a terrible death at his hand?

Asked by jca (35976points) May 5th, 2014

People are posting memorials to Stephanie Neiman, the young lady who died a terrible death at the hand of the prisoner who suffered from the botched execution. It made me think: Why do we talk about the prisoner but yet seem to forget about his victim?

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35 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

….Edit by me… I’m speechless.

chyna's avatar

Because the victim always has less rights than the accused.

CWOTUS's avatar

It’s right to talk about the botched execution because that was done “by policy”, and in the name of the citizens who elected that government which established that policy and those people to carry it out.

Of course the victim of the original crime hasn’t been forgotten – as you noted – but if we’re going to perform executions in this country, then we should at least do them in a humane way, or else when do we cease committing additional criminal acts, even if we call them legal?

dappled_leaves's avatar

Can we not agree that both events are terrible? It’s not a competition.

Coloma's avatar

I concur with @CWOTUS and @dappled_leaves
There is no better/worse dichotomy when it comes to suffering.
Botching an execution is just as horrible as being murdered.

marinelife's avatar

In this case, it is because it is controversial that the state is in the business of ending lives. To do it painfully makes it worse.

elbanditoroso's avatar

She’s already dead. Has been for years. No news with her.

ibstubro's avatar

I think it’s the case that one man killed one woman. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.

It is also the case that the state killed one man and botched the job, horribly. Now the state is being tried. It’s a hell of a lot harder to try the state, and the ramifications are much bigger.

Pachy's avatar

Your question,@jca, articulates my lifelong ambivalence about the death penalty.

Mimishu1995's avatar

My insane guess: because the woman died in such an old-fashioned way, nothing interesting to be discussed, but that killer died via dead penalty – a controversial subject which is being debated to death.

chyna's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Getting beat, raped and buried alive is not dying in “an old-fashioned way, nothing interesting.”
Oh and she was forced to watch her grave being dug.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@chyna By saying “nothing interesting”, I mean it’s just not so controversial as the death penalty.

I’m not unemotional, I’m just trying to say that a controversial subject can sometimes attract more attention than a subject which everybody all has the same opinion on.

zenvelo's avatar

Because despite how horrific the crime was, we lower ourselves as a society to the same level by the long drawn out and deliberate killing of a human being.

And, dozens of people standing around watching someone die an awful agonizing death is not justice in my name.

Two wrongs don’t make it right.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Because crimes are ordinary, executions less so and botched executions are unusual.

RocketGuy's avatar

You would think it would be easier to lock him in a garage with a car with the engine running.

gondwanalon's avatar

I disagree that the execution was botched. The MF’er is dead isn’t he?

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

@gondwanalon, well, you were alone until I logged in, but I’m with you. The man died of a heart attack, pretty common stuff. I’ve seen cruelty first hand. I’m glad we’re done with him.
Even with the wrong drug mix, it took less than an hour for him to die. I hope it will serve as a deterrant for at least one would be predator.
The difference between him an the executioner? Those involved with his execution are sorry for the way things went.

cazzie's avatar

Perhaps because people are realising that what happened to that poor girl was the rapist/killers fault, but State sanctiond deaths make all the citizens killers.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

Finally!! I have been hearing for days about this “poor guy” who had to suffer before he died in Oklahoma. Probably once I read about the poor nineteen year old girl who was buried alive. This is what is wrong with the world today. Forget the victim but worry about the criminal. I wish he had suffered more.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat – I agree.

Once the state has made the decision to execute a criminal, the method (and specifically the degree of pain suffered) is not (to me) that relevant of a factor.

I’m OK with hanging prisoners from a gallows, or a firing squad. The state justice system makes the decision. All the rest are details.

flutherother's avatar

Because we can do something about botched executions but we can’t do anything for the young lady who died.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@chyna “Because the victim always has less rights than the accused.”

It’s not anyone having less or more rights than anyone else. By extending rights to the convicted no rights are taken away from anyone else, not even the victim.

cazzie's avatar

Perhaps because people are realising that what happened to that poor girl was the rapist/killers fault, but State sanctioned deaths make all the citizens killers.

longgone's avatar

Because this second killer has a hell of a lot more power.

zenvelo's avatar

On a related note, a study came out last week that, by a conservative estimate, 4.1% of death row inmates are actually innocent.

That means that there are most likely 30 innocent people on Death Row in California.

ibstubro's avatar

And honestly, @zenvelo, how can you argue against that?

Maybe we should burn them at the stake using their case files so there’s no record of the screw up. What is the 100% of botched executions, given the rarity of executions?

I guess a fair reason for humane executions is so that if the prisoner is later found to be innocent, the state will only be responsible for murder, rather than murder and torture.

Coloma's avatar

I will NEVER participate in a jury debating the death penalty for someone. I will make sure I give adeqaute reason to be excused, uh, dismissed. I don’t want anyones blood on my hands, hell, I can’t even clean a fish. lol

Darth_Algar's avatar


Really you need do no more than to tell them that you’re morally opposed to the death penalty.

Coloma's avatar

@Darth_Algar I know, just being humorous.

cazzie's avatar

@Coloma ‘gallows humour’?

Paradox25's avatar

I don’t consider myself to be a bleeding heart, and some of the light sentences that murderers get in Canada and some European countries really makes my blood boil. However, I still oppose the death penalty.

A prisoner is already in custody, so executing them is not a justifiable homicide in my opinion, whether it’s state sanctioned or not. Can we really trust the very people having picnics to celebrate executions on top of this!? This is even more of a concern when so-called ‘civilized’ people want to see criminals suffer during executions. Can I trust these same people myself I wonder.

cazzie's avatar

@Paradox25 People have been doing this for centuries, having picnics at the feet of the gallows or guillotines. Cheering as the they hear the crack of the neck. We are a horrible lot.

Darth_Algar's avatar


What gets me is that very often the same people who don’t trust the government in just about any other area will trust the government with the the power to execute its’ citizens.

Paradox25's avatar

@Darth_Algar Many of these types of folks are the same ones who are quick to come down on people for almost any reason they don’t approve of, and the ‘offenses’ doesn’t have to include murder either. The same types of people cheering on executions in America are the same ones applauding executions of offenders in Malaysia who were caught with small amounts of drugs. There’s a noticeable pattern with people who use this type of thinking, and it frightens me.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Well drug dealers and drug addicts are scum and need to be removed from society. Unless, of course, they’re conservative radio hosts. Then they need our prayers and support.

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