Paul Goodwin was put to death early Wednesday this past week for fatally beating Joan Crotts to death with a hammer in 1998. This 10th lethal injection set a Missouri state record for the most executions in a year. Missouri tied Texas for the most executions in the country this year. Efforts to spare Goodwin’s life centered on his low IQ and claims that executing him would violate a U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the death penalty for the mentally disabled. Goodwin’s attorney, Jennifer Herndon, said he had an IQ of 73, and some tests suggested it was even lower. Unfortunately his fate was sealed when the Governor denied a clemency request and the U.S. Supreme Court turned down two appeals. Missouri has scheduled one execution each month since November of 2013. Two were halted by court action, but 12 have been carried out over the past 14 months.
The victim’s daughter, Debbie Decker, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Goodwin deserved no mercy. “I’ve been sitting back waiting for this to happen,” Decker said of the execution. “I’m hoping all these bad memories will go away.” Jim Mooney, a member on our province’s justice and peace committee, has been a social worker working with victim family members in the Kansas City Metro for over 20 years. He told us at a local chapter meeting of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty last month that the ongoing grief victim family members continues even after the execution. I am grateful to Jim for reminding us of the need to provide ongoing prayerful support for victim family members.
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.