Do You Believe in the Death Penalty? Watch HBO’s The Cheshire Murders

HBO: The Cheshire Murders: Synopsis.

Do you remember where you were when you first heard about the Cheshire murders? It was a home invasion of the Petit family that took place in Cheshire, Conn. in July 2007 that sent the mother to a bank to withdraw funds while the rest of the family was being held hostage at the home.

The mother and two daughters were killed, the father was brutally beaten in the head with a bat and their house was fully engulfed in flames when the police arrived on the scene.

As the suspects were making an attempt to flee they were stopped by the police and taken into custody: Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky.

Both suspects agreed to plead guilty for life without parole (LWOP) but the prosecution rejected their offers and pursued death sentences; under Connecticut law, the death penalty cannot be imposed without a trial.

At the time, Connecticut’s legislation was debating to abolish their death penalty but when this particular case came up, that debate stopped. In 2009 the legislation voted to abolish the death penalty. Citing the Cheshire case, Governor Rell vetoed the bill.

However the Connecticut legislation did vote to end the death penalty again in 2012, and it passed, so the Hayes and Komisarievsky will probably never be put to death.

Which means the Petit family and the families of Hayes and Komisarjevsky sat through the trial, day after day and heard everything. Every horrible thing, for nothing.

To make things even worse, there was serious doubt about the competency of the Cheshire police. Family members wanted answers and didn’t get them. But when the defense received the police logs they discovered that the police were on scene for almost 30 minutes, watching the house, setting up their perimeter.

During that time, the strangulation of Jennifer Petit occurred, the rape of Jennifer Petit occurred, the pouring of gasoline occurred and the setting of the fire occurred.

The HBO documentary originally aired in July of last year but it’s available On Demand anytime. I recently watched it and was stunned by the feelings I had regarding the death penalty.

Recently there’s been coverage in the national news about some executions that have gone wrong. The most recent was in Oklahoma where Clayton Lockett died not from an execution but from a heart attack 43 minutes after his actual execution began.

A new and previously unused drug combination had been used and the UV line made the vein collapse, causing the drugs to either be absorbed into tissue or leak out or both. Apparently there wasn’t another vein available nor were there enough drugs available to start over, which didn’t really matter because Lockett died eventually.

He had been given the death penalty for shooting Stephanie Nieman and then watching as two others buried her alive in 1999. Groups who feel the death penalty should be abolished were up in arms because they felt the botched execution of Clayton Lockett was cruel and inhumane. But shooting Stephanie Nieman and burying her alive wasn’t cruel and inhumane?

The drug used was midazolam and it’s tied to two other cases that were botched, in addition to the Oklahoma execution. It’s made by several drug companies in the U.S. Oklahoma used midazolam to render Lockett unconscious and then attempted to inject another drug to paralyze him and a third to stop his heart. He suffered “vein failure” making it hard to administer the rest of the drugs.

Florida and Ohio have also had cases where midazolam caused problems. Usually executions use thiopental and pentobarbital. The makers of these two drugs worried about them being associated with “capital punishment” so they cut back their availability for executions, leading some states to turn to midazolam. This has caused the makers of midazolam to change their distribution agreements and bar sales to correctional departments.

On Death RowMainly because the companies who make midazolam would prefer to … “make it to enhance and save the lives of patients …” and they …”object to the use of their product in capital punishment.” Which brings up the definition of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which the Supreme Court bans procedures that pose “serious harm” when compared with “known and available alternatives.”

But others will argue the Constitution doesn’t outlaw pain in executions or demand that execution methods always be foolproof.

What are the facts? What about Life Without Parole (LWOP)? Life without parole is swift, severe and certain punishment. Sentencing people to death by execution is three times more expensive than sentencing them to die in prison. And if we make a mistake by sentencing an innocent person to death, it can’t be fixed.

Victims’ families prefer LWOP. Unlike death penalty cases, LWOP sentences receive no special consideration on appeal, which limits the possibility they will be reduced or reversed. A person sentenced to die in prison receives only one automatic appeal, not several, and is not provided any court-appointed attorneys after this appeal is complete, usually within two years of the initial sentence. (ACLU)

Want some certainty? Watch the documentary The Cheshire Murders. Listen to Joshua Komisarjevsky confess about sexual assaulting Michaela Petit; not once but three times. Michaela was the youngest Petit, she was 11. Put yourself in the shoes of the family.

How many other states has the same law that Connecticut does; that the death penalty cannot be imposed without a trial? This trial found both of them guilty when they wanted to plead guilty. Then there was another phase where their lawyers pled for life in prison instead of the death sentence.

The death penalty process for Hayes and Komisarjevsky will cost more than $7 million, and is projected to last over a decade. If the State of Connecticut would have accepted the guilty pleas of Hayes and Komisarjevsky when it happened they would have been locked up 3 weeks after the crime and would have never been heard from again.

What a bunch of crap, considering the outcome. In April 2012, shortly after the trials, Connecticut abolished the death penalty for all future cases, making it unlikely that Hayes and Komisarjevsky will ever be executed.

Dr. William Petit started the Petit Family Foundation out of the tragedy of the murders. In August of 2012 Dr. Petit remarried, to Christine Paluf, and moved to Farmington River, Conn. In August of 2013 they welcomed a baby boy and named him William Petit III.

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The Story Behind the Movie “Argo”

How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans From Tehran | Wired Magazine | Wired.com.

Keyart from the movie "Argo"

Keyart from the movie “Argo”

I was doing my day job yesterday, processing photos for movies that are On Demand in February, one of those being the Ben Affleck directed “Argo.” While I was checking out the information on imdbpro.com, I discovered it was produced by George Clooney‘s Smoke House production company.

Chris Terrio wrote the screenplay based on an article by Joshuah Bearman entitled “Escape from Tehran” (the link above will take you to the article).

Thinking that reading the article would help me put the 63 pictures I downloaded from the Warner Bros. in perspective (it did), I went ahead and tore right into and was thoroughly entertained.

Ben Affleck plays Tony Mendez to put it into perspective for you, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go. Read the article, see the movie and enjoy your self. I intend to see it when it’s available on DirecTV On Demand, I don’t even want to wait for Netflix.

All New Episodes of Suits Return Jan. 17

Suits_intertitleOn Demand is a wonderful thing. If you still aren’t DVRing yet, then you should add a DVR to your Christmas list, get it installed quick and start reading up on the most effective way to use it.

My favorite all time satellite service – DirecTV – has some of THE best high tech toys around, and their On Demand service is so simple to use, my Chiweenie could operate it. USA Network is Ch. 242. The On Demand channel is 1242. How easy is that? You just throw a 1 (one) in front of the channel and you have the On Demand channel number.

Today while I was watching a marathon of N.C.I.S. on USA Network (another one of  my favorite shows) I saw a commercial for Suits. I loved that show from the pilot. I only saw Patrick J. Adams, who plays Mike Ross, in Suits in one other show, and that happened to be an episode of N.C.I.S.

The commercial which pulls this all together said that the first two seasons of Suits is available on On Demand. Sure enough, I grabbed my DirecTV remote and drove to the On Demand screen, found Ch. 1242 which is the USA Network and saw all the episodes of the first two seasons of Suits, just waiting for me to download them and watch them.

And, I just might, because there are some quality actors in Suits. In addition to Patrick J. Adams (Mike Ross), he is joined by Gabriel Macht (Harvey Specter), Rick Hoffman (Louis Litt), Meghan Markle (Rachel Zane), Sarah Rafferty (Donna Paulsen) and Gina Torres (Jessica Pearson).

As the pilot began, Mike Ross is a brilliant college dropout with an eidetic memory who makes a living taking the LSATs for others. Mike also sells marijuana on the side to supplement his income and to keep his grandmother in a private nursing home. When he agrees to deliver a large quantity of marijuana for his best friend Trevor he finds out the delivery is actually a sting operation and escapes the police by accidentally sitting for an interview with Harvey Specter, one of NYC’s top corporate lawyers.

Harvey is impressed with Mike’s quick wit, encyclopedic knowledge of law, and desire to be an attorney. He hires Mike and pretends that Mike is a Harvard Law graduate. Only Harvey’s legal secretary and confidant Donna knows the truth, but as the first season ends and the second season begins, Mike’s secret is in jeopardy and so is the life he’s built for himself and his grandmother.

Season 2 was a total knockout of what I expected it would be, and I can’t wait for the final 6 episodes. It’s a great series created by Aaron Korsh. Season 1 consisted of 12 episodes. Season 2 was split with 10 episodes with the mid-season finale on August of 2012 and the remaining 6 episodes will air beginning January 17.

In October of 2012, USA Network ordered a third season (16 episodes).

There’s a great song called “Greenback Boogie” by Ima Robot that always ends up sticking in my head for at least 3 hours afterward. It’s one of those songs that you screw up the lyrics really bad and something totally funny comes out instead of what they’re really saying.

If you’re looking for some quality TV, which is what I write about, then On Demand the first two Seasons of Suits and get ready for the last 6 episodes of Season 2 starting Monday, Jan. 17.