I've blown hot and cold on the death penalty over the years. I've always been skeptical as a libertarian/conservative; we barely trust the government to pave the highways, and we're going to let it make the ultimate life-and-death decision? And every time a justifiable exception becomes entrenched -- children, the mentally retarded, (soon, I hope) the profoundly mentally ill -- the temptation becomes stronger to just call for chucking the whole thing. How many exceptions can there be before it really does become cruel and unusual to impose it on the remaining handful?
But as long as that handful includes people like this, who was already serving life without parole when he ordered the murder of several witnesses who testified against him, how can we completely give up the death penalty? What other punishment can the Clarence Ray Allens be threatened with?