Volume 91, Issue 73

Friday, February 6, 1998



Tucked away

By Heather Maddocks
Gazette Staff

The 38-year-old Texan who helped to brutally murder two people in 1983 and was put to death by execution on Tuesday by lethal injection has many people questioning the afterlife.

Karla Faye Tucker was a born again Christian who appealed her sentence of execution and was content to live her life in prison.

Tucker died a painless death, said John Morgan, a professor of philosophy and coordinator of King's College Centre of Education for death and bereavement.

Morgan explained the grief associated with this type of death is called anticipatory grief. "The person becomes ready to die and everyone experiences some grief before it happens," he said.

In this type of situation, family and friends would put energy into hoping for a reprieve. "Her family will not only be grieving that she died, but how she died," Morgan said.

As for Tucker's claim she will be going to heaven, Father Michael Prieur, professor of moral theology at St. Peter's Seminary, said it is possible she will see Jesus. "The good news about Christianity is that with repentance you can be forgiven by God."

Those who believe in life after death may question the suffering of Tucker and her place in heaven, but Prier said he believes penance and sorrow for her sins has already been experienced through her suffering in jail. "Overall, we don't really know who ends up in heaven," he said.

The usual grounds for mercy from death row entail that the person must be rehabilitated to some degree and show resentment for their actions in addition to an examination of the individual's particular situation, said Michael Cormier, director of clinical legal programs for the faculty of law at Western.

Although the state of Texas has never pardoned anyone, Cormier said he thinks if a woman is pardoned when no one else is, it looks suspicious. "It is illogical to only execute [Tucker] because she was a woman who came forward, but in another state Karla probably would have been pardoned."

As for rehabilitation, Cormier said he does believe people can be rehabilitated and no one is unchangeable. He added he does not personally believe in capital punishment. "Texas has a law and order view of the world. If you commit a crime you pay for it," Cormier said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998