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Death sentence costs too much

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The article about the Rodney Alcala trial was sickening, (Journal, Feb. 23). He was convicted in 1979 for killing 12-year-old Robin Samsoe. Now, many years later, he is being tried for the third time for that crime and four other horrible murders. One would first think that the death penalty is too lenient for Mr. Alcala. The second thought is that if the prosecutor had sought life without parole rather than death in 1979, the case would have been over about three years after that. There are about 5,000 prisoners serving life without parole in California and only seven have gotten out of prison since 1977. They had to prove they were innocent to do it. Seeking the death penalty for 66-year-old Alcala is a cruel joke on the victims’ families. Death verdicts are uncertain. Alcala had his overturned twice. Prosecutors squander taxpayers’ money seeking death verdicts. Seventy to 80 percent of them are overturned on appeal. Reversal of verdicts for life without parole is rare. I was sad when Scott Triplett dropped out of the race for Placer County District Attorney. I had hoped that we might have some discussion about issues like this. Now Scott Owens is going to march into office without opposition. I just hope he is not this dumb. PAUL W. COMISKEY, Newcastle