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Justice Has Gone NUMB In California
Terri Winchell's murderer lives another day...
[by Patrick Hurley] 2/22/06

Michael Morales, the man who raped and killed Terri Winchell, a seventeen year-old girl in 1981 was supposed to be put to death early Tuesday morning, February 21, just after midnight. He was not. The man who used a hammer in smashing the young girl’s head in twelve times and then stabbing her an additional four times in the heart was AGAIN supposed to be lethally injected later on that same Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Again, he was not. His execution has now been stayed indefinitely. It may take months to finalize justice for Terri Winchell, or, if someone does not legally step in and exercise the power of common sense when it comes to loopholes in the criminal justice system, there may be no justice at all.


Because the state of California cannot figure out a way to HUMANELY put this vicious murderer to death.

I am trying to keep a straight face while I type this article. The only thing that is preventing me from laughing out loud is the anger that is burning inside of me. A teenage girl was left stripped and mangled in a Lodi vineyard for her family to remember as her last night on this earth and now her admitted killer is sitting in his jail cell tonight smiling at his good fortune.

Patrick Hurley

Patrick Hurley is an independent conservative thinker living in Orange County, California. He has addressed over six million people in 47 states nationwide and won three Emmy awards for television comedy.[go to Hurley index]


Where is the humanity here?

Vernell Crittendon, a spokesman for San Quentin state prison made a statement on Tuesday afternoon regarding the postponement, “We are unable to have a licensed medical professional come forward to inject the medication intravenously, causing the life to end,” he said. The doctors, who supported the decision and whose identities were not released also issued a statement, “Any such intervention would be medically unethical. As a result we have withdrawn from participation in this current process.” These statements came after two anesthesiologists backed out because of ethical concerns that they might have to advise the executioner if the inmate woke up or appeared to suffer pain.

Yes, it would be horrific if Michael Morales were to suffer any pain in the slightest way. After the way he was so nurturing and sensitive to Terri Winchell, we would not want him to experience even a twinge of discomfort. According to the laws of our state, we want a nurturing and calming execution; one in which the ruthless killer will know that we understood his trepidation in the last seconds of his pathetic life. According to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, he is the one who needs to be coddled here. If Terri Winchell had not selfishly died at the hands of this PCP-laden monster that night, Michael would not have to unduly suffer at the pin prick of a fatal needle. Poor baby. He came so CLOSE to suffering…

Thank God a federal judge stepped in with a Catch-22 that doomed the state of California from avenging Terri’s murder. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, (who by the way, was NOT in the vineyard that night worrying about the suffering Ms. Winchell was experiencing) gave the state its two options in finishing off Michael Morales; bring in doctors to ensure that he was properly anesthetized, or skip the usual paralyzing and heart-stopping drugs and execute him with an overdose of a sedative. To the DELIGHT of Mr. Morales’s lawyers, the prison authorities chose the second option. The judge said fine….BUT….that sedative must be administered in the execution chamber by a person who is LICENSED BY THE STATE to inject medications intravenously. Ballgame. Score one for the murderer. Ben Weston, one of the lawyers representing Morales gleefully said, “The decision to hold off the execution goes a long way towards demonstrating the state doesn’t have its ducks in a row for humanely killing a human being. They haven’t figured out how to do it.”

On that fateful night in 1981, Michael Morales had his ducks in a row as he systematically slaughtered Terri Winchell. No one was there to evaluate his execution in, “humanely killing a human being,” because, in the words of his attorney, he HAD figured out how to do it. There was no smirking attorney that night representing Terri Winchell. There was no judge listing the rules by which Michael Morales could rape and murder her. There was no anesthesiologist to deaden her pain as she died slowly with every nerve ending screaming out to her brain that this was a horrible way to die.

Justice was numbed on Tuesday allowing injustice to once again triumph in favor of the criminal over the victim. The truth is that twenty-five years is too long for this girl’s murderer to be allowed to live despite the fact that he has expressed remorse over his heinous act of brutality. When told he was spared once again because of this decision he smiled, nodded and said, “Thank you.”

Somewhere Terri Winchell is watching all this and even though she is undoubtedly in a heavenly place, I wonder if she is saying the same thing to a justice system that stabbed her all over again. Except this time, it was in the back. -one-

copyright 2006 Patrick Hurley




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