Sunday, May 31, 2009

Skillicorn widow: Nixon wanted Skillicorn's family to suffer

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch printed an op-ed piece by executed killer Dennis Skillicorn's widow this week in which she rakes Gov. Jay Nixon over the coals for not granting clemency to her husband. Paula Skillicorn was a Kansas City Star reporter who met and fell in love with Skillicorn while covering his case:

Nixon punished my husband for murders outside Nixon's jurisdiction. Dennis already had served time for one and had been sentenced to life without parole for the two in Arizona. Although he never killed anyone, Dennis always accepted responsibility for his role in those tragic deaths, and he sincerely expressed his remorse and sadness for the victims every day.

The governor's words and actions show he wanted Dennis Skillicorn's family — law-abiding, hard-working taxpayers — to suffer dearly for the sake of "justice." As a result, Dennis no longer is serving his punishment; his family is.

Nixon does not care that Dennis intervened on many occasions to prevent violence among inmates or toward correctional officers. He does not value the fact that when Dennis and other hospice workers changed soiled diapers and cleaned up the vomit of dying men, it freed prison hospital staff for other work. His efforts to help children of incarcerated parents avoid their parents' mistakes appear to be a waste of time — in the governor's opinion.

I hope the Post-Dispatch offers the same amount of space to the family members of those who lost their lives because of Skillicorn's actions.

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