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Editorial - Life, and death: A killer remains dangerous

March 21. 2018 7:40PM

Michael Lawrence Woodbury did not receive the death penalty when he murdered three people at the Army Barracks store in Conway in 2007.

He may face it now, after Florida officials say he beat another inmate, Antoneeze Haynes, to death with a padlock in September.

Woodbury received three life sentences in a plea deal for shooting the store manager and two customers during an attempted robbery. New Hampshire’s narrow capital murder statute can be applied when someone takes a life in commission of a burglary, but not during a robbery.

Woodbury was transferred to Florida in 2009. Locking him away may have protected most of us, but he remained a threat to corrections officers and his fellow inmates.

Last week, a Florida grand jury indicted Woodbury for first-degree murder for killing Haynes. Florida officials will reportedly seek the death penalty. After all, what would come from giving him a fourth life sentence?

Woodbury took three lives in Conway in 2007, and we let him live. He has now allegedly taken a fourth. Would that life have been lost had Woodbury been eligible for the death penalty a decade ago? We can never know for sure.

Woodbury illustrates why the death penalty remains civilization’s only appropriate response to barbarism.

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