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Edward L. Bode

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

The refusal of our governor to deny a change of sentence before the execution of Ernest L Johnson despite the reasonable pleas and efforts of a myriad of citizens is a terrible silence in response to a logical and well-presented argument for commutation to a life sentence.

Among the reacting voices, I quote the statement made by the Catholic Bishops of our state: "Ernest Lee Johnson's crimes were heinous and deserved to be punished, yet as Missouri has shown itself to be a pro-life state, we should stop using the death penalty as a means of dealing with violent crimes. The death penalty degrades us as a society and teaches our children that violence is the proper response to violence." Instead, the bishops asked that people of goodwill seek "alternatives" to the death penalty for violent criminals.

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