In a letter to the editor published in the July 18, 2006, issue of the Newton Kansan, Wilma Loganbill of Hesston told of her feelings on the death of her son and punishment for his killer.
“Murder leaves a multitude of emotions and pain is the worst. A pain so deep, high and wide, no words are big enough to describe it. You can’t get around or through it. And then there is the anger, anger at everything, wanting revenge, the knowledge everything is beyond your control and a feeling of total helplessness.
How do I know this? My son was murdered in 1982. I wanted to hurt the person who murdered my son like he had hurt me, I wanted to poke his eyes out, among other things, but I never wanted him dead. I wanted him to wake up every day knowing he was in prison because of decisions he had made.
I resented my taxes paying for his room and board. Strange as it seems, I learned it is cheaper to keep someone in prison for life than it is to put them to death. The cost of the legal procedures including the last-minute appeals to prevent capital punishment far exceeds paying for their room and board.
However, there is a cost greater than money for family members and friends of the victim. And that is waiting for the legal procedures to be finished. It is hard to work at healing so long as there are court dates to cope with. Each date is like pouring salt in a wound. Once more you are forced to listen to all the legal words. Once more things you started to resolve are torn apart. I have heard victims express disappointment after the offender was put to death. They expected to feel better, but they didn’t.
I am grateful there was not a death penalty when my son was killed. I didn’t have to deal with ongoing court appearances. I could put the offender out of my mind, start to work at healing, and go on with my life without more legal interruptions. It’s very hard to do, but it can be done.”