No more trials for Muhammad, please

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 27, 2003

Now that a Virginia jury has convicted John Allen Muhammad of murder and recommended he be put to death, prosecutors in other states where the heinous crimes were committee – Alabama, Louisiana and Maryland – are debating whether they should proceed with trying him.

While we can empathize with their desire to see to it that the victims’ deaths are avenged and receive their 15 minutes of fame, it would be best to let Muhammad’s story end here in Virginia.

First off, more trials for Muhammad would cost millions of taxpayer dollars. It’s appalling that the public that Muhammad terrified had to foot the bill for the Virginia trial. It would have been much more satisfying to simply treat him as he treated his victims – it was an open-and-shut case. But that’s the price we pay for a free society.

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Secondly, it’s not fair to the families of the victims to make them relive the horrifying events over and over in some sort of traveling freak show.

More such spending would simply be wasteful when the result is virtually predetermined. Since capital punishment was reinstated, Virginia has executed more prisoners than any state but Texas. If the jury’s recommendations stands, it is a virtual certainty that our state will carry it out, so if it does stand, this should be the end of it.