Death Sentence Overturned Because of Murderer’s Childhood


I’ll say it right up front that I believe that if someone is competent enough to commit a crime then they are competent enough to pay the penalty, including the death penalty, which I wholeheartedly support!

On Nov. 12, 1997, Rayshawn Johnson bludgeoned Shanon Marks to death in her bathroom in the Walnut Hills neighborhood of Cincinnati. Johnson lived in a house behind the Marks’ house and admitted that he only intended to rob Marks, but when she resisted and fought back, Johnson grabbed a baseball bat and beat her to death. He then stole $50 and left the house. Her husband discovered Mark’s dead body on the bathroom floor when he got home from work eight hours later.

Johnson was convicted of capital murder in 1998 and sentenced to death. However, in 2008, an appeals court ruled that Johnson’s attorney was negligent during the sentencing phase but did nothing to save his client from the death sentence. The appeals court granted Johnson a new trial for the sentencing phase only.

In Jan. 2012, a second jury recommended the death sentence which the judge agreed to and sentenced Johnson to die on April 10, 2012.

Johnson’s attorneys then appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court. There was no question of Johnson’s guilt as he readily admitted to killing Marks. The appeal was about the death sentence. His attorneys argued that Johnson’s background and developmental issues are to blame and that because of them his life should be spared.

This week, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-3 to remove the death sentence and ordered that the sentencing of Rayshawn Johnson go back to the Hamilton County court for re-sentencing. In their ruling, the state’s high court said that due to mitigating factors including Johnson’s childhood, addiction to drugs which started at an early age and his developmental issues, that the death penalty was inappropriate.

I’m sorry but I don’t buy it for one moment. He was competent enough to plan on breaking into the Marks’ home and robbing Shanon so he should be competent enough to be put to death for his brutal crime.

I believe that locking someone up for the rest of their life is far more cruel than executing them for their crime. What purpose does it serve to keep someone locked up knowing that they’ll never get out of prison? All it does is prolong the agony for the victim’s family and costs taxpayers a fortune.

In a 2012 report, it stated:

“For FY 2912 the average cost to incarcerate an inmate in an Ohio prison was $24,870 per year, or $68.14 per day. Security, which includes the supervision and control of inmates, typically consumes the largest portion of these costs at around 40%.”

Johnson is 35 years old. The average lifespan for men in the US is about 76 years of age. If Johnson makes it to 70 years of age, he will cost Ohio taxpayers well over $875,000. That’s inhumane for the state’s taxpayers.

Either way Johnson will die in prison, so why not do what’s right and execute him for murdering an innocent woman and save the taxpayers a fortune by putting off the inevitable?

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