(Toledo, OH) Let me say this up front: I am not a fan of the death penalty. I would rather see a criminal remain behind bars for life than risk the killing of a wrongly convicted person.
That being said, I found it hard to object to the execution of Joseph Lewis Clark, the Toledo man convicted of killing a gas station clerk during a series of robberies.
Clark admitted his crime, and blamed it on the drug habit he was supporting. His actions, he said, were the direct result of the destructive influences of drugs on his mental state. Clark also seemed to blame one of his victims for the killing.
"He started coming toward me with something like a metal like a metal rod or something in his hand," he said. "I sort of somehow squeezed the trigger off and shot him."
I was disturbed that there were technical problems in the execution, especially the part where Clark sat up and told the technicians performing the lethal injection: "It don't work."
And yet his death was still less painful than those of his victims.
Clark admitted his guilt, was convicted by due process, and received his punishment; governor Bob Taft saw no compelling reason to offer clemency. There appears to be no reason why this sentence should not have been carried out, and it is worth noting that very few capital punishment opponents protested this execution.
No one really cared much about this cold-blooded killer.
I have personally been mugged, and the aside from a bruise or two, my assailant did choose not to kill me to support his obvious need for drug money. As a business owner my retail establishments suffered no less than two dozen robberies and burglaries in ten years, and not once did one of these criminals decide to shoot me or my employees.
In fact, there were no injuries during any of these crimes, most of which could probably be tied to the support of drug habits. While I deplore these criminal acts, I am begrudged to be appreciative that none of the perpetrators felt the need to injure or kill anyone.
The modus operandi was typical: thug walks in, thug waves a weapon, clerk empties till, thug walks out. Just another cost of doing business.
For Joseph Lewis Clark the repeated decision to kill the innocent clerks in his robberies suggests that he derived some pleasure from seeing people die.
For that - I hope you spend eternity in a toasty place in Hell, Clark, or that a merciful God one day explains to me why you did not fry. I have no qualms about allowing the state to carry out this death sentence.