A Republican Senator is accusing Democrats in the Senate who oppose the death penalty of causing the deaths of children who’re the victims of a kidnapping or sexual abuse. Republican Senator Larry McKibben of Marshalltown made his comments this (Wednesday) morning during a statehouse news conference.
McKibben says there’s a “de facto death sentence for children” today in Iowa. “If you kidnap someone or rape someone, either one of those is life in prison without the possibility of parole. What is the next logical step move for the kidnapper and rapist to do? Simply murder the victim,” McKibben says. McKibben repeatedly tried, without success, to get a Senate debate on the death penalty last spring. The Democrat Leader in the Senate blocked that debate. “I think by the Senate Democrats not allowing us to have that debate and have that discussion, they’ve de facto given us a death penalty and it’s a death penalty for minor children in this state,” McKibben says. “I think it’s time that that ends.”
McKibben argues that the death penalty for child killers would be a deterrent and save lives. McKibben says it’s time to stop finding children “in rivers or in shallow graves or stuffed in cabinets.” The body of Evelyn Miller, the girl murdered this summer in Floyd County, was found in a river and the body of Jetseta Gage, the Cedar Rapids girl raped and murdered allegedly at the hands of a convicted sex offender, was found stuffed in a cabinet in a mobile home.
McKibben is urging Iowans to lobby their legislators to enact a death penalty for anyone who murders a child.
“I think we need to tell the people of Iowa it’s time to contact your local state senator and say ‘We want (you) to have this debate in the spring of 2006,” McKibben says.
Senator Keith Kreiman, a Democrat from Bloomfield, takes a shot back at McKibben. Kreiman says Republicans have refused to provide enough money to the state’s child protective services system, and those budget constraints have ended up being a death penalty for some kids, too. Kreiman and McKibben are both members of a legislative panel that’s meeting today (Wednesday) at the statehouse, reviewing Iowa’s sex offender laws.