The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 12, 2008

Murders of two girls makes a death penalty believer

By Dave Kinnamon, Commentary

This week I toast the lawman, good Samaritan or vigilante who eventually tracks down and catches the murderer or murderers of 13-year-old Taylor Paschal-Placker and 11-year-old Skyla Whitaker. (And the murderers will be caught.)

The girls’ bodies were found Sunday by Peter Placker, Taylor’s grandfather, about a quarter-mile from his home in the countryside outside Weleetka.

What kind of a monster, or monsters, kills two young girls who simply were out on a country walk on a warm summer afternoon during their summer break from school?

The monster, or monsters, will be caught, and I hope and pray it’s very soon — which probably will happen given the high concentration of law enforcement attention on the case.

This horrific, evil crime conjures up remembrances of the murders of the Clutter family, an innocent farm family from Holcomb, Kan., in 1959 — the events that formed the basis of the Truman Capote novel, “In Cold Blood.” Compared to Paschal-Placker and Whitaker, the poor Clutter souls equally were innocent, blameless and victimized by consummate evil masquerading in human form.

On that note, I once had a college theology professor try to explain seemingly unexplainable acts of evil — like the Ted Bundy, Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer serial killing sprees, for example, and similar horrendous crimes, like the Sunday murders of Whitaker and Paschal-Placker — by suggesting the murderer(s) was “possessed by Beelzebub.” The other students and I chortled and chuckled at our professor’s notion. In the subsequent 20 years or so since I heard the demon-possession concept, I have come to think, why not? Maybe these consummate evil-doers are indeed possessed by consummate evil?

Which is all the more reason to try them quickly and then execute them swiftly. For the monsters who killed those two young girls to be executed like the character Eduard Delacroix in the movie “The Green Mile” — the convict who is consumed by flames from his shoulders up while being over-dosed with electricity on the electric chair — would seem an appropriate way for one or more of Beelzebub’s incarnations to exit this world. If that theology professor’s theory holds true, anyway.

I’m not a big fan of the death penalty, but in cases like the senseless, despicable murders of innocents like Paschal-Placker and Whitaker, I temporarily become a passionate fan of the death penalty.

A news report quoted officials as saying there were two weapons used in the murders of the girls, which, to law enforcement experts, would indicate more than one murderer.

One tentative theory is the girls accidentally stumbled upon a crime in progress, perhaps a drug deal. The only drug deals that realistically occur in the country are growing plants that become drugs and methamphetamine production. And we’re to believe the girls possibly stumbled on a meth lab being operated on top of a country road? The idea doesn’t seem reasonable, but then again cooking, selling and/or using meth are not reasonable notions either.

When our symbolically kudoed super trooper or good Samaritan or vigilante captures the girls’ murderers, the citizens in and around Weleetka perhaps might then be able to catch some decent winks of sleep. And all law-and-order loving Americans — which I believe describes the huge majority of our population — will feel a sense of justice and then divine retribution as the electrified crown is placed on top of the murderer’s shaved, wet head. (I know, Oklahoma utilizes lethal injection for its executions.)

The state-sponsored liquidation of these evil-doers, however, will not bring those two precious girls back to life.

I’m sure their parents, siblings, grandparents, close friends and other loved ones gladly would trade death penalty debates and all other hypothetical considerations in exchange for having their beloved girls alive again.

Kinnamon is online/special projects editor of the News & Eagle. Contact him at