Friday, February 25, 2011

WA: Inmate Kills Guard, Asks for Death Penalty

Snohomish County (WA) Prosecutor Mark Roe said he has 30 days to decide whether to seek the death penalty against Byron Scherf for the murder of a Washington state corrections officer. Scherf, serving a life sentence for three rapes strangled a female officer to death in the prison chapel.

According to the probable-cause affidavit released by prosecutors, Scherf believes that he deserves to die. "I took her life and I think I should forfeit mine," Scherf told Monroe police investigators earlier this month, according to the Seattle Times. "If I get a life sentence and she's [dead] then there's no punishment attached to it because I already have a life sentence."

This case in reminiscent of the case of John David Duty the last man executed in 2010. Duty was in an Oklahoma penitentiary serving three life sentences after being convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping, first degree rape and shooting with intent to kill.

As chronicled in my forthcoming book, The Faces of Death: Desperate Appeals, Last Meals and Final Statements, an In-Depth Look at Every Execution of 2010, Duty wanted out of prison one way or another. He decided he would murder his cellmate, ask for the death penalty and have the state of Oklahoma put an end to his miserable existence in the state penitentiary system.

After the murder he wrote a taunting letter to the victim's mother and a second letter to the district attorney demanding that he be charged and ultimately executed. Here is part of what he wrote, "Now if you don't do this you're only telling me it's ok for me to kill again [and] again because you're not gonna do anything to me. And if that's what it takes to get you to do something then I'll be more than happy to do it. Only next time it will be a guard or staff member, as I know you'll prosecute me then."

Duty pled guilty, was sentenced to death, and executed on December 16, 2010. Oh, by the way, Duty had a change of heart about wanting to die at the hand of Oklahoma correction officials. He fought his execution for nine years on death row--right up until his final day.

To read more: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2014321017_scherf25m.html

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