Read more. - The Issue

Kammie Wimmer
English 2010
Professor Lisa Bickmore
August 31, 2014
Flash memoir
Death Penalty
For many years I have been intrigued by serial killers and what motivates them to kill. For most
of my life I have always been aware that my mother’s cousin was killed by the infamous serial killer,
Randy Kraft. He committed over 60 murders only to be convicted of 16, my mother’s cousin being one of
them. I have always been on the fence as to whether or not capital punishment is just or moral. Many
people on death row have committed horrific crimes for which they should be punished. There are
arguments on both sides with many pro-death penalty supporters stating that it is better for us to rid
the world of such people, while anti-death penalty supporters stating that it is against a person’s
constitutional right to be executed. Should we be the ones to decide if someone should be put to death
or should the harshest punishment be life imprisonment?
From 1960 to mid-1980 someone was terrorizing the coast of California, mainly targeting gay
bars. Men were disappearing from bars, then reappearing along the highway after being drugged and
brutalized. On New Year’s Eve of 1975, my mother’s cousin Mark Hall was drugged and taken from a bar
where he was a local musician. In the days following his abduction his body would be found beaten and
bound to a tree. It was later determined that he was alive for all of the brutality he suffered at the hands
of Randy Kraft. My aunt and uncle received the call that they needed to come and identify the body of
their only child, the police cautioning “I think it would be best if you did not bring your wife no mother
should have to see their child like this.” My uncle tried to shield my aunt from much of what really
happened to their child but she insisted on attending the trial. There she would learn the gruesome
details of what really happened. Randy Kraft was later convicted of his crimes and was sentenced to
death. Many survivors of murder victims believe it will bring them some sort of closure knowing that the
person will be put to death for their crimes but one woman stated “It is much more complicated for the
families victims, each envelope from the department of corrections, each anniversary when the crime is
recounted in the paper, every discussion about the death penalty on TV, those are reopening’s not
closings” ( It makes me wonder does capital punishment benefit anyone or do we
continue to condemn them to such fate because that is what we have always done?