Does the death penalty attract inmates?
I was in the Monroe prison when Byron Scherf murdered Jayme Biendl. I was released six months later, having served 30 years [“State prison inmate sentenced to death in murder of guard,” NWThursday, May 16].Bryon Scherf was already serving a life sentence. He didn’t want to spend the rest of his life behind bars. He knew he would never get out.I have heard many debates about whether the death penalty acts as a deterrent to crime. Never have I heard it debated that the death penalty, in some instances, may actually be an attractant to those tortured souls who are tired of living and too weak or cowardly to take their own lives.
I believe that is what happened in this case. The cruelest, most vengeful fate to bestow on Scherf would be to force him to live out the rest of his miserable life behind bars. I believe he murdered Jayme Biendl because he wanted the death penalty.
Her death is a terrible tragedy. I have often wondered if there had been something I might have done that day to prevent it.
And today I am left to wonder if Scherf would have strangled her if Washington state didn’t offer the death penalty.
Dan Pens, Seattle