In 2003, Seattle resident Robert Kerr was abducted from his apartment and found dead 30 miles from his home, with his bank account emptied and without clothes or identification. At the end of 2010, the state of Washington has yet to arrest or convict anyone for his death.
While Kerr’s killers have never been found, the state will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in the coming year on the death penalty for people already behind bars — a situation that has reformers, and Kerr’s family, clamoring for change.
Kerr’s case is one of thousands of unsolved murders, and it’s the reason his sister, Judy Kerr, supports her state, California, in abolishing the death penalty and reallocating the millions of dollars it spends on death row inmates each year to solving cold cases.
With so many states facing deficits, legislation on the death penalty has started to address the cost of the policy, while justification for it has traditionally focused on whether it’s right or wrong.