Death Penalty: Chris Watts Case

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Chris Watts was a father of two little girls ages 4 and 3 he also had a wife who was pregnant with their third child. His wife was a YouTube blogger; everyone saw the Watts as the perfect happy couple. But the happy façade could not be maintained. Chris Watts was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife and daughters. Every day as we walk and do our daily routines, we pass at least 36 serial killers per year without even knowing the monsters among us. Should capital punishment be the solution for crimes like the Watts case, instead of life in prison?

The day that Watt’s took the life of his wife and two daughters, the next-door neighbor said that Chris left his house around 5 am; in the video camera, they caught Chris loading his truck three times. Shannan's friend called the police after she found out that Shannan missed her doctor's appointment, a police officer went to the Watts home and waited for Chris to arrive. As they searched the house the police officer saw that Chris was very calm and unemotional. Watts had put the body of his two daughters in a boiler and had buried the body of his dead wife just a few feet away. When the interrogation took place, Chris claimed that he strangled his wife because he caught her killing one of his daughters, after talking to his dad he finally confessed that he killed his wife and two daughters. Chris was cheating on his wife with a coworker, in text messages between the two Chris tells his mistress that he is divorcing his wife so that they can live a happy future together (Smith).

In an interview, Chris mentions how he wanted a fresh new start; he no longer wanted to worry about kids or supporting a home. The judge after hearing all the gruesome details sentenced Chris to 5 life sentences without parole. The reason why they gave him the sentencing of 5 lifetimes, and it was for the count of each body and then the last two were other charges. Reasons, why capital punishment would have been the best choice, is because it would reduce taxes and make prisons a much more effective place to take care of the criminals. As the famous quote of George Walker Bush “I support the death penalty because I believe, if administered swiftly and justly, capital punishment is a deterrent against future violence and will save other innocent lives.' Per day to keep an inmate in jail cost a total of $85 a day per inmate. Immediately that if capital punishment would be applied more often less money would be spent per inmate. Criminals have admitted, in thousands of fully documented cases, that the death penalty was the specific threat which deterred them from committing murder (Pro-Death Penalty, 2014).

As many might say that capital punishment is inhumane the bible says otherwise. Genesis 9:6 says “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” This is part of the larger covenant that God made with Noah after the flood, this reflects the value of life but also gives a reason for that value. As we know, in the New Testament Paul states that “If you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.” Statistical evidence proves that severe and punishment acts as a reliable deterrent to future criminal activities. For instance, between the years 1995 and 2000, there were 71 executions on average every year, which led to 44% in the rate of reported murders. In fact, life sentences cost between $1.2 million to $3.6 million dollars more compared with carrying out the death penalty. The cost of death penalty cases averages $2 million in taxpayer’s money. However, it is significantly lower compared to the costs of housing and caring for prisoners serving life sentences. Prisoners serving life sentences spend 30 and 40 years in prison creating an unnecessary burden on existing resources. Therefore, the economic benefit of the death penalty also forms a strong basis for promoting its acceptance.

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The death penalty is the most severe form of punishment enforced for committing a capital offense. Once a jury has convicted the petitioner, they go to the second part of the trail, the punishment phase. Lethal injection is the most common form of use, yet they had other ways of executing like gas chambers, firing squad and the electric chair. Many people’s greatest fear is death; therefore, if they know that death is a possible consequence for their actions, they are less likely to perform such actions. “Capital punishment is likely to deter more than other punishments because people fear death more than anything else. They fear most death deliberately inflicted by law and scheduled by the court. Hence, the threat of the death penalty may deter some murderers who otherwise might not have been deterred. And surely the death penalty is the only penalty that could deter prisoners already serving a life sentence and tempted to kill a guard, or offenders about to be arrested and facing a life sentence.” (Death Penalty Curricula for High School).

In a study conducted by Isaac Ehrlich in 1973, it was found that for each execution of a criminal seven potential victim’s lives were saved. Also, according to Ehrlich, he claims that if the criminal is executed then the criminal has no opportunity to commit more crimes. In fact, Isaac claims that the death penalty would take less time if they would not allow so many applies for something that the sentencing won't be changed. The death penalty puts the scales of justice back in balance after they were unfairly tipped towards the criminal.

Immanuel Kant who put forth the idea that “a society that is not willing to demand a life of somebody who has taken somebody else’s life is simply immoral” ( It is immoral to not properly punish a person who committed such horrendous crimes. Inmates are first given a large dose of an anesthetic, so they do not feel any pain (Bonser); this proves that the process is made as humane as possible so the inmates do not physically suffer. After the anesthetic is administered the person feels no pain; the only part of the process that could be considered painful is when the IV is inserted, but that is done in hospitals daily and no one is calling it unconstitutional.

In the United States, there are more than 2.3 million people being held in both the state and federal prisons. About 443,000 people have not been convicted of anything and are awaiting trial. Another 41,000 are in detention in immigration centers without conviction. On the other hand, 704,000 prisoners are labeled as violent offenders in state prisons. Capital punishment laws create space for potential rehabilitation without dealing with issues of prison over population (Crystal Ayres).

Professor John McAdams stated “If we execute murders and there is no deterrent effect, then we have killed murders. If we fail to execute murderers, which would have deterred others from committing such a crime, then we would have allowed the killing of innocent victims.” Capital punishment is incredibly beneficial for society and will increase the confidence of innocent individuals who may otherwise be afraid to leave their homes. Capital Punishment also warns future criminals and dissuades them from performing capital crimes.

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Death Penalty: Chris Watts Case. (2021, July 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 18, 2024, from
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