SACRAMENTO — Some have voiced their disgust after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his executive order to stop executions of death row inmates in the state.
“See how you would feel in the end if you had to sit in court and listen that your child did not just get murdered,” said Sandy Friend. “He got tortured, stabbed repeatedly, up to 70 to 80 times. A 63-pound, little 8-year-old boy.”
In 1996, a convicted, violent sex offender kidnapped Friend’s son, Michael Lyons, as he walked home from school.
Friend believes the governor did not take victims’ families into consideration.
“You have your own child, trade spots. Let me have my baby back,” Friend said. “Let me have my Michael back and you put your son over there with Rhodes on that walk home from school. Let’s put his son in Michael’s place.”
It’s a heartbreak and anger shared by mothers, like Phyllis Loya.
“Prisoners rights are much more important that victim’s rights and that’s wrong,” Loya said.
In 2005, two bank robbers shot and killed her 35-year-old son, Larry Lasater, a Pittsburg, California cop and a Marine veteran, as Lasater chased them down.
Both were eventually caught and convicted but only one was eligible for the death penalty and was ultimately sentenced to death.
Loya says since Gov. Newsom never met with them before Wednesday’s announcement, she would ask him, “What more could my son have possibly have done for the citizens for the state of California, and more specifically for him, that would warrant justice not being ripped from him?”
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert summed it up with one word — “disgraceful.”
She said the governor ignored the voice of the people who approved Proposition 66 to expedite executions.
“This is a Democracy. This is a system of justice where voters have decided that they want this and they want it fixed,” Schubert said. “I’m not going to impose my own personal opinion and that’s exactly what happened today.”