Here we go again! I look at the morning news and get hit in the face. The death penalty is again on the November ballot. Twenty-five years after my daughter and her husband, John and Lori Rainwater, were murdered — I still have flashbacks and nightmares.
Between now and November, I’ll have a lot of both, with all the publicity that will happen. When they were murdered, their two babies were 14 months and seven days old. The children have grown into wonderful, loving adults with children of their own. The loss that all of our family will never go away. John and Lori would now be grandparents.
The children had a great adoptive family but still not their natural parents. Dennis Webb took that away forever. Now, you are asking me to let him live his natural life in prison.
Instead of spending all your energies abolishing the death penalty and causing more stress for all the victims, why not work on correcting what is wrong with the death penalty system? Yes, I agree that 25 years of our tax money could well be spent elsewhere.
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Dennis Webb is a perfect example of why the death penalty is necessary. He has killed before and also allegedly killed while in prison. I will be forever grateful to our District Attorney’s Office for putting him on death row. I even had some of his previous victims (who survived his attempted murder of them) come up to me after the sentence was announced, hug me and state that today they also saw justice.
Please don’t make my family endure what the Tate family has been through all these years. You can’t promise me that “life without parole” won’t be commuted some day to “life.” I know it says that the death sentence will be commuted to “life without parole,” but I really do not trust that to happen.
It does help me to know that Webb is not in the general prison population, being allowed to work, have face-to-face visitation and even possible conjugal visits. I am not stating that the death penalty is a deterrent, but is everyone really willing to take that chance and have time to tell us for sure? Please, please don’t risk other families having to live though what mine is.
Charlotte A. Wood has lived in San Luis Obispo County since 1961, raising five children. She is a retired employee of San Luis Obispo County Mental Health Services, a member of Trinity Methodist Church in Los Osos, and has volunteered with Hospice of San Luis Obispo County.