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January 12, 2006

He Was Guilty

Roger Keith Coleman was executed in 1992 and up until his death claimed innocence regarding his conviction for raping and murdering his wife's sister.

The case has been watch closely because DNA testing was being done to confirm his guilt. Had the test results come back showing he did not perform these acts, it would have opened a flood-gate as it relates to capital punishment. The test results have come back and, indeed, they confirmed his guilt.

The tests, announced by the governor earlier this month, prove Roger Keith Coleman was guilty of the 1981 rape and murder of his sister-in-law, Gov. Mark R. Warner said.

Coleman was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982 for the murder of 19-year-old Wanda McCoy, his wife's sister, who was found raped, stabbed and nearly beheaded in her home in the coal mining town of Grundy.

The report from the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto concluded there was almost no conceivable doubt that Coleman was the source of the sperm found in the victim.

"The probability that a randomly selected individual unrelated to Roger Coleman would coincidentally share the observed DNA profile is estimated to be 1 in 19 million," the report said.

I'm satisfied with the results of the DNA testing in Coleman's case. I am a proponent of the death penalty. My support of the death penalty goes way back to my high school days on the debate team. Our debate coach would make us argue on the side we disagreed with in order to build strategy. It really only affirmed my support and belief in it. As the years have passed, and DNA tests and other tests have been able to bring forward more evidence, the death penalty seems even more relevant to me. Now the chances of convicting an innocent person are not as likely as they were in the past.

I've seen the legal wranglings over the years reduce the effectiveness of the death penalty as in many cases they are nothing more than life sentences on steriods. Appeal after appeal and after that years of waiting to actually carry out the sentence. It isn't the penalty itself that's flawed, it's the lack of carrying it out expeditiously that reduces its intended effect - deter criminals from performing such terrible acts.

Don't get me wrong. I believe that in such cases, an appeals process can and should be offered and in some cases, I could possibly be convinced that a life sentence may be fitting. But to see a criminal sentenced to death sit on death row for years and years and years is almost criminal itself. To the families impacted by their crimes, to the tax payer who is paying for their care and to the officer's who risk their lives managing within the prisons they reside.

James McCloskey, executive director of Centurion Ministries, had been fighting to prove Coleman's innocence since 1988. The two shared Coleman's final meal together — cold slices of pizza — just a few hours before Coleman was executed.

"I now know that I was wrong. Indeed, this is a bitter pill to swallow," McCloskey said, describing Thursday's findings as "a kick in the stomach" and adding that he felt betrayed by Coleman.

It's unfortunate, Mr. McCloskey, but murderers are typically pretty good liars, too.

Show Comments »

Posted by Merri at 10:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Murderers

WOW, I am sorry to see this wonderful website isnt a safe fun place to talk and write without being totally attacked . Its too bad I thought this site was really nice and i loved alot of the stuff on it, however I dont like to be attacked so meanly so I wont be telling people to spend the time here and I wont be back. I know I know its just one person and I am sure he thinks hes doind a wonderful thing protecting Merri, I didnt think she needed it however I never meant to suggest that she was in anyway bad or anything I was just having fun expressing myself on a great site where I thought I was welcome , I wont make that mistake again. Maybe you should put a warning on here merri saying hey if someone doesnt like what you have to say they will try to hurt you for expressing yourself so beware. People that write on this website dont care anything about you or your thoughts just the ones that agree with the owner so watch OUT..

Posted by: Paula at January 26, 2006 10:09 PM

Paula - when you defend the likes of Andrea Yates (which, if you go back to that post and read your comments you did - you said she was precious and a wonderful mother) you should expect, and be prepared for, anger. I personally am just a little more restrained than others.

I didn't take your comments personally, but I am completely against your position as you shared in your comments and actually felt you were personally speaking to *me* when you commented on how people shouldn't preach about mental illness when they don't know anything about it. While I was okay to let it go, others are not always willing to. You're right - I'm a big girl and can defend myself just fine...that doesn't mean others can't come here and comment just the same as you did. It's all part of the blog world - if you are going to play with fire...well, you know the rest.

Posted by: Merri at January 27, 2006 07:38 AM
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