Thursday, August 19, 2004

James Bryant Hudson - Virginia

James Bryant Hudson was executed by the Commonwealth of Virginia on Wednesday night. Hudson had waived all appeals and had requested an execution date. He plead guilty to the murders he was charged with and never challeneged his death sentence.

I'm never sure what to say when an individual asks to be executed. To me, it is essentially state assisted suicide. In terms of punishment, how can death be the ultimate punishment for someone if it is what they ask for? I mean, if one's argument for the death penalty is that certain murders deserve the most ultimate in punishment, how can you then justify an execution when the person being killed is choosing death over having to serve out his life in a prison cell? Logically, isn't the inmate essentially saying that he would rather die than spend his life in prison. This was certainly true of Terry Dennis who was killed last week in Nevada. It appears to also be true of Hudson. How is giving them what they want punishment? It ultimately only serves to punish the inmate's family. That, and it continues to push our society downward...

Hudson executed for three murders


Anonymous said...

By whatever (random?) process Virginia uses to choose from its applicant pool, I was a witness to the Hudson execution. My hope was to learn something illuminating about the death penalty, but that didn't happen. I remain confused about it.

It all went about as you'd expect. He put up no fuss and said "No, sir," when asked for any last words. The only moment that didn't resemble what one might imagine, was when Hudson and his escort of several corrections officers entered the execution room. He stared at the table where he would be executed with a visible single-mindedness. It wasn't particularly chilling to see, but it has stuck with me.

Every mention of this execution tends to be mostly about Hudson. So, for the record, his victims were: Walter Stanley Cole, 56; Thomas Wesley Cole, 64; and Patsy Ayers Cole, 64.

CarrieJ said...

Thank you for your comment. Your perspective is certainly one that we don't hear from every day. I also appreciate you mentioned the names the victims. I try to discuss the victims on my blog when I discuss an execution. Its certainly not that I don't recognize the horror they and their families have gone through as a result of these abhorent crimes. The thing is, this blog is about the crime I see in capital punishment. My comments on those executed have NOTHING to do with the victims. I know people think they should, but the focus here to end the murder of the men and women on death row. I abhor capital punishment, and I abhor the violence that put those on death row in their cells. My support for those who murdered does not mean that I do not feel pain for the victims and hate the crimes that were done to them. This is not a fair and unbiased website. It is a clearly biased attempt to prevent more death. Whatever you think a person "deserves" because of the horror he or she caused, I do not believe our society should participate in the death of a human being and I do not believe it serves society to kill killers. In fact, I think it works AGAINST the public interest. That is for another day. I apologize for taking such a small part of your post and expanding on it. I just wanted to address the concept of mentioning the victims becuase its something people bring up all the time. The victims in each and every case deserve to be highlighted and remembered and honored and it is important to remember that.

Anonymous said...

You underestimate yourself. One can be biased and fair.

I believe your sentiments about the victims match my own: while their deaths are often recounted in lurid detail, probably in the hope of inflaming emotions, they do deserve our consideration and rememberance.

There were quite a few other aspects to Hudson's death, not least of which was that, when I asked the assistant warden the name of the condemned, he didn't know what it was. I wrote a short essay about it. If you want me to, I'll post it here.

You're quite right that my vantage point on his execution was unusual. Because of the passions the death penalty provokes, I don't tell many people that I saw it used. Accordingly, my essay hasn't been seen by very many people. I'd be pleased to change that.

Let me know.

Anonymous said...

Guess not.

CarrieJ said...

I'm sorry. I hadn't actually seen your request yet. I haven't posted to the blog in quite awhile. I'll get back to you. Please, send me an email and include part of the essay. Its easier for me to track down your request on email. I don't really check comments on months old posts very often. I have way too many posts to keep track of. THANKS for reading!

SweeneSM said...

I have spoken with a relative of the Coles (the innocent victims). This person did watch Mr. Hudson's execution. I am normally opposed to the death penalty due to the high number of exonerations in recent years. However, in this case I truly feel justice was served. We can argue for days about what is worse losing your life in prison or choosing to die. I firmly believe that taking the life (the living and breathing) away from someone is the strongest punishment society can hand out. It may not be about deterrence or suffering, but symbolically taking someone's life is the highest punishment in all...IMO