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I agree, though, that there's no going back after an execution, if you find out you're wrong. And if we only give the death penalty if the person pleads guilty, then no one will ever plead guilty to the worst crimes.

I disagree on this. In pretty much every capital case we've ever had, the defendent has been told that the death penalty was on the table. In a few cases, we have had defendents who still pled guilty. We had some who actually felt enough remorse over the killing that they were willing to waive their appeals past the first automatic one.

Most of the time though, if a defendent is willing to admit to the crime, the D.A. is willing to take the death penalty off the table.

It's been a tough one for us for a number of years since Texas juries don't generally get the option of life without parole as a sentence. In recent years, that seems to be changing.

I don't have good answers.

Me either, other than I do believe that there are some people out there who are evil. Not sick, just evil. I don't know if it harkens back to the way they were raised, or if it's just a case of bad blood, but it certianly can happen. In the late 1960s, Tex Watson, one of Manson's followers who was involved in the Tate/La Bianca murders, was from a tiny little farming comunity outside of Dallas. After he was convicted in CA, some of the members of the community actively discussed that "bad Watson blood". Apparently, he comes from a long line of folks who weren't exactly upstanding citizens.

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