While working in her yard last week, Kristy Frensley was approached by a man who claimed to be from DirecTV. The mother of three had no reason to be alarmed, since this man had stopped by a few days prior to ask about the home she had for sale. Today, however, would be drastically different.
After showing her a gun and forcing her into the house, police say Kevin Dunlap gave Kristy an ultimatum – “It’s either you or your daughter.” He then raped Kristy, tied her up, and waited for her children to arrive home from school.
Upon arriving at the house, 17-year-old Kayla, 14-year-old Kortney, and 5-year-old Ethan were promptly bound and slashed to death. Dunlap then allegedly set the house on fire to cover any evidence of his horrendous crime.
Although having been repeatedly stabbed and with her hands still tied behind her back, Kristy was somehow able to make it out of the burning house and into the swimming pool. There she was discovered by neighbors who had responded to the blaze.
Police were able to tie Dunlap to the crime because of the description of his vehicle given by a friend of Kristy’s who stopped by during the afternoon and couldn’t get anyone to the door. He memorized three of the letters on Dunlap’s license plate and police were able to track Dunlap down using DMV records. The mother was also able to pick Dunlap out of a set of police photos and describe his clothing to police. After searching Dunlap’s home, they found a knife in the trash bin and blood-splattered clothing matching the mother’s description.
I’ve long considered myself as someone opposed to the death penalty. Knowing in my heart that I could never actually push the button or pull the lever to kill a convicted person has been the main reason that I have disagreed with it. I figured it’s hypocritical for me to expect someone else to do something that I am unwilling or unable to do myself.
I’ve also heard and read statistics of how it actually costs more money to convict and kill someone that it does to put them in prison for life. This makes sense when one considers that the death penalty is automatically appealed, and many times appealed over and over until the inmate is actually put to death. The process can take decades, resulting in thousands upon thousands of dollars in court costs and legal fees – all footed by the taxpayer.
However, I must admit that this case has made me question my beliefs. Nothing is “black and white” as they say, and I know that there are some people who deserve to die for the things they have done.
I can’t help but wonder how Kristy and her relatives are feeling right now. I’m sure they want justice in its most severe form. I figure Dunlap’s family would be just as adamant that his life be spared. It’s easy to state an opinion about a hypothetical situation, but quite a different story when it’s actually happening to someone you love.
So what do you think? Is the death penalty a necessary evil in modern America, or should we adopt a more humane approach in dealing with the perpetrators of some of the most inhumane and atrocious crimes on earth?