Are you for or against the death penalty?

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?

Author: Brian

Blogger. Bookworm. Michael Jackson fanatic. Lives in Kentucky with partner of 12 years and three fabulous felines.

6 thoughts on “Are you for or against the death penalty?”

  1. Was this in Kentucky or Tennessee? I think if you believe we have a creator who gives us life it doesn’t fit that a court system should be able to take life away from anyone. Your title threw me off a little. It’s strange to me to “believe” in something like the death penalty. But of course some people do. I figure since we can’t know whether or not we are right, it’s best to side with life.

  2. Wow! That’s a horrible situation! I’ve always been sort of in the corner of ‘anti-death penalty’, but hearing about something this gruesome makes me wonder.

    I know that I could never be on the jury that’s deciding Kevin Dunlap’s fate because I wouldn’t feel right deciding the course of his or anybody elses’ life. However, it almost doesn’t seem fair that the Tennessee taxpayers should foot the bill to keep someone who has no regard for life as is evidenced by his snuffing 3 innocent lives.


  3. I remain against the death penalty which I think is mostly appealing due to the extremity of its retributive nature. I do not believe that justice as retribution serves society.

    Frankly, I can’t imagine anyone who’s sane committing such atrocities, and thus the alleged deterrent effect of the death penalty is specious, at best; also, as far as I’ve heard, the intense review and appeal process required for every death sentence costs far more than lifetime incarceration.

    I once watched a show on an inmate who was stuck in solitary for life because during a relatively short 4 year sentence, he killed another inmate rather than let himself get raped (or so he claims, anyway); I think he was also on a 15-minute interval suicide watch. I’ve often thought about that and conceived ways to handle it if I were in his shoes, which I certainly never intend to be. But I also can’t imagine spending the rest of my life unable to get more than 15 minutes of sleep at a time.

    What’s the right way to handle lifers, anyway? This is a huge area that I think most folks don’t really think about. How humane can a prison be, anyway? I live in Maricopa County (Arizona) where we have the “toughest sheriff”, whom I despise, especially lately. I had a friend get locked up for DUI, and from his report, our “tent city” was just awful. I honestly think that’s the intent, but there’s also the danger that once you remove somebody’s dignity, they have less to lose in the future.

    Bottom line, I think, is that we have too many non-crimes on the books, and thus we have too many non-criminals in jail, getting hardened and coming back out hopeless and desperate.

  4. What a terrible crime! I can’t even imagine the pain that both families must be going through right now. That being said, I don’t see how taking another life will change anything or make anything better. Those children are gone, and taking the life of the man who killed them won’t bring them back, even if it might make some people feel better about it. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

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