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Execution might look good to a child abuser sent to prison

Citizen Staff Writer

Editor’s note: Citizen staffer Judy Carlock reviews the week’s events, with a personal twist.

Christopher Payne is innocent until proved guilty. But even his defense team appears to be conceding some facts that make acquittal a longer shot than a trip to Mars.

If found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of his daughter Ariana, 3, and son Tyler, 4, the jury will decide if he lives or dies. The “aggravating” factors – extreme cruelty and the age of the victims, for example – will be invoked in favor of execution.

Given the layers of appeals Payne could claim, even a death sentence would mean years more of life for the man accused of imprisoning his children and starving them to death.

Given the percentage of criminals abused as children, prison might prove harder on Payne than execution.

Along with the “aggravators,” juries consider mitigating factors. I can see one tiny sign of humanity.

He got a storage locker to contain the remains. He could have just buried them. They were so small.

JAN’S PLAN: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer frequently refers to an “inherited” budget debacle, apparently a stab at former Gov. Janet Napolitano.

Fair or not, Napolitano did leave Brewer holding the bag.

The Republican governor surprised me this week with a proposal for a temporary tax increase and a frank reliance on federal stimulus money to make it through the rapids of the recession.

No one has accused Brewer of being a liberal. Whatever the fate of her plan, it beats immediately dismantling the apparatus of state in a way that does irreversible harm.

Yeah, I know it’s taking money out of one taxpayer’s pocket and putting it in another. It sounds like a shell game because it is a shell game. But this isn’t about common sense.

It’s economics.

CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT? The capture of a border-area jaguar by Game & Fish officials and its outfitting with a tracking collar may have stressed the animal and aggravated kidney dysfunction, which eventually forced euthanasia of the 17-year-old big cat.

Given that it is just about the only jaguar seen this far north in longer than anyone remembers, it’s possible that like Rudyard Kipling’s kitty, this cat walked alone.

Wildlife activists protested Thursday at local Game & Fish offices. Others countered that the cat’s main population lives in Mexico.

I hope so. Losing big cats makes the planet poorer.

PAPERED OVER: Even without hot lead type, newspapers are physically harder to produce than the flickers of light that make up the substance of the Internet.

Gannett Co. Inc. apparently introduced an odd element into the sale of the Citizen. Reportedly, it invoked a condition that the buyer continue printing a newspaper.

But as the company wants to keep its share of the “Joint Operating Agreement” – allowed by Congress specially to make printing two newspapers feasible – this new twist makes one wonder: Gosh, does Gannett really want to sell the Citizen?

Some have said they would consider buying the paper as a Web-only operation.

The company didn’t want to talk about it this week. Don’t ask me. I just work here.

Last I checked.

OCTOMOM: Against all odds, octuplets born to Nadya Suleman are doing amazingly well. Good. Suleman, 33, conceived the octet in vitro, as she has with five other births producing six babies.

Anyone who’s caught a glimpse of her can tell she’s excitable. She’s also news.

A 911 tape released this week revealed her to be frantic and saying she was going to kill herself when her 5-year-old briefly disappeared. A dispatcher suggested she might not want to say that in front of her other kids.

Can this single, unemployed mom cope? Will she keep her babies? State officials may have no legal grounds to take the California kids.

Yeah, women used to fairly commonly produce 14 kids. But eight newborns at once? Nadya: Get real.

Judy can be reached at 573-4608 or jcarlock@tucsoncitizen.com. For more on these stories, see this column at www.tucsoncitizen.com.

Carlock: Execution might look good to a child abuser sent to prison

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