Death Penalty

Rodney “Rod” Gilchrist

1947 - 2014

Rodney “Rod” Gilchrist, 67, died Nov. 24, 2014

Doris “Dorie” Dethman

1932 - 2014

College Place resident Doris “Dorie” J. Dethman, 81,

Death penalty hangs in balance as debate heats up

Four executions have taken place at the Washington State Penitentiary under the state's current law.

WALLA WALLA — Want to start a good argument?Begin talking about the pros or cons of the death penalty. Somebody nearby probably will be on the opposing side.Few public policies find such staunch supporters and opponents as the issue of capital punishment.

Capital punishment issue isn't simple

WALLA WALLA -- It seems the older I get, the harder it is to figure some things out.Issues that were clear to me even a decade or two ago are becoming fuzzy.There's one in particular I want to discuss since it's been in the news lately.

How they stack up

Cost comparisons for murder cases involving the death penalty. (All figures adjusted for inflation to reflect 2009 costs).(1) Status Report on the Death Penalty in Washington state by Chief Justice Richard P. Guy, March 2000.

Dollars add up in capital trials

Estimates vary, but the price tag for a death penalty trial is estimated at more than $300,000 more than non-capital cases.

Estimating the cost of a murder trial involving the death penalty versus one that does not is a tricky business. But several past studies indicate costs are significantly higher for capital cases.Nineteen years after the state's current death penalty law

As appeals stretch out, so do costs

Defense and prosecution costs, both borne largely by the state, mount in the years after a death sentence is handed down.

One thing can be counted on in a murder trial where the death penalty is possible. It will eventually end, one way or the other.Executions are the same. When one is scheduled, a 30-day countdown starts. If no court intervenes and issues a stay, the end co

Supporters: Penalty a deterrent, economical

From: Summary of Issues in the Debate on the Death Penalty, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, March 2009Deterrence: The weight of evidence indicates that the death penalty does deter some murders and saves innocent lives where it is actually enforced.

Opponents: Penalty costly, rarely imposed

Summary of findings in 2004 report Washington's Death Penalty System: A Review of the Costs, Length, and Results of Capital Cases in Washington State, by Mark A. Larranaga, director of Washington Death Penalty Assistance Center, and Donna Mustard, legal

Run-up to date with executioner runs up tab, too

The business of executing an inmate includes wages and overtime, travel expenses for officials and witnesses and other items.

WALLA WALLA -- Eight hours before Cal Coburn Brown was scheduled to die, the bill for his execution was more than $75,000 and climbing.It was a warm late afternoon March 12, a Thursday, and preparations were well under way at the Washington State Penitent