February 16th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

94-yr.-old man dies of natural causes on death row



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Something is very wrong when a 94-year-old man dies on death row.

The oldest inmate in the U.S. on death row died of natural causes in Arizona - according to the state's department of corrections. A lawyer for Viva Leroy Nash says the man had been imprisoned almost his entire life since he was 15 years old.

Consider his history:

  • Nash was sent to prison as far back as 1930 for an armed robbery
  • He then served time for shooting a police officer
  • He was sentenced to two life sentences for a robbery and murder
  • He escaped from prison and went on to kill again; later being convicted of first-degree murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault and theft

What a guy. Nash was sentenced to death in 1983 - 27 years ago - during which time he filed several unsuccessful appeals.

Nash's lawyer says the inmate was deaf, mostly blind, and had dementia. He insists Nash was mentally ill for decades - which should have kept him off death row.

Just imagine how much this has cost the American taxpayers.

It's estimated that death row inmates typically spend more than a decade awaiting execution with some prisoners, like Nash, remaining on death row for over 20 years.

What's more, the population on death row is aging, in part because of how long the appeals process takes.

Some experts question the constitutionality of the extra punishment of holding these inmates on death row for such extended periods of time.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say about the criminal justice system when a 94-year-old man dies of natural causes on death row?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Kevin writes:
This is hardly surprising to those of us involved in the criminal justice system (I'm a prosecutor). While the death penalty appeals to the primal "eye for an eye" instinct in all of us, the reality is that it costs far more to execute someone than it does to imprison them for life, due to all the mandatory appeals they get. After all, lawyers can't work for free, and decades of work means a lot of lawyer's fees.

Jill writes:
All inmates should be released from jail upon serving their sentence, or age 80, whichever comes first. Statistics show that as the inmate's age goes up, his/her propensity for crime goes down.

Charles in Lawrence, New Jersey writes:
Capital punishment isn’t politically correct no matter how conclusive the evidence, a result of Christian manipulation, but spending millions of dollars over decades to keep God’s mistakes alive is. It provides jobs, especially in a state with a privatized prison system. Maybe it’s time to make murder a federal instead of state crime, Timothy McVeigh lived less than 4 yrs. after sentencing on federal charges.

Chris in Alexandria, Virginia writes:
Like it or not, Jack, our Constitution grants everyone a system of legal checks so that we don't end up executing someone innocent. That takes time (and a lot of money). Justice would be quicker and better served by our joining the rest of the civilized world and abandoning capital punishment. Life in prison with no possibility of parole is both cheaper and can be corrected should our legal system make a mistake.

Barry in Scottsdale, Arizona writes:
If DNA is available, the inmate should be put to death after one appeal.

Rich in Wisconsin writes:
Jack, It means that the best business to be in right now is building and housing prisoners.

Lorrie in Hartford, Vermont writes:
It says they must have pretty good health care in prison. Maybe Congress should take a look at it.

Filed under: Crime and Punishment
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. Eric Platt

    It says that a sentence of life in prison, means the rest of your life in prison

    February 16, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  2. JD in NH

    It says nothing unless he was convicted when he was 20 and has been awaiting execution for 74 years.

    February 16, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  3. Richard in Kansas

    Not all cases are equall but in this case where he kept up his illegal activities for years it merely means if you do the crime you'll do the time

    February 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  4. richp the poconos

    Apparently his appeals were not unsuccessful, they worked, he survived for all those years. Did he collect social security all this time too.

    February 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  5. Paul Round Rock, Texas

    It just shows that you can kill someone and live your worthless live out. Also while you do so you get free TV, food, weight room and recreaton room, education if you want and law advise if you want. In the end it says our justice system is geared to help the person that did the crime and not the victim of the crime.

    February 16, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Ok, it cost the taxpayer approx. $26K per year for 84 yrs. to keep this person in prison. Wonder what the execution cost would have been, and how that would have compared?

    This all gets to be so foolish, really.

    February 16, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  7. Andy in Vancouver, BC

    Well, putting the cost to the taxpayer part aside, I'd say he got what he probably deserved. After all, if I had a choice between being put to death or spending a long life in jail with no chance of parole, I'd happily take the lethal injection.

    February 16, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  8. Anna, New Mexico

    Well it was a death penalty...LOL

    February 16, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  9. Lori - PA


    It says that we need to do one of two things when it comes to the criminal justice system:

    1. Limit the appeals process; or
    2. No longer allow death as a form of punishment

    I'm for the first option.

    February 16, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  10. Randy M. of Minnesota

    That our legal system is too slow, overloaded with cases, just does not work and poor legal representation. If he was truly ill then his attorney should have appealed the courts ruling. Yet, with Nash's history of crime and violence he was destined to be in prison for the rest of his life anyway.

    February 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  11. Michael Alexandria, VA

    Life without parole is a death sentence anyway, at least according to convicts. Someone like this really swell guy should have been euthanized much earlier, if only to protect other inmates.

    February 16, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  12. Jim C.

    Our judical system has tilted to not having someone be put to death just in case they didn't do it. 27 years on death row is absurd. Criminal past that shows repeated offenses should be enough to have no appeal granted and punishment to be enacted.

    February 16, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  13. katiec Pekin, IL

    According to what you write there was no doubt about this man being guilty.
    But, unfortunately that is not the case in other instances. There have been and will continue to be far too many put to death that have been and have been proven innocent. Our system is broken, far too many over ambitious prosecuters, many instances of evidence proving innocence hidden, ramrodding and lack of investiagion by our law officers, inadequate, incompetent representation for the accused.
    Until all are held accountable, punished for the misuse of justice, and checks and balances in place to ensure innocent until proven guilty still exists in our country, am against the death penalty.

    February 16, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  14. John from Alabama

    Jack: Yes, the point was and is being that the period on death row for inmates is way to long. Once entering death row a typical inmate will spend 20 years before being executed. The good thing about death row is that death row is the safest place in a prison. The general population of a prison in very, very, and mean very dangerous. Most lifers in a prison die within 15 to 17 years of a violent act. No, I have never been in a prison as a convict. I'm glad, yes, very glad.

    February 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  15. Linda - Muncie, IN

    Jack -Our criminal justice system has been broken for some time. I'm not a fan of Martha Stuart but really, hard time for her crimes? If we eliminated the pot smokers and people like Martha from the prisons, there would be a lot of dollars saved and room in the jails for the really dangerous criminals. The civilized thing to do with Mr. Nash would probably have been to send him to a mental institution. Either way it would have been the taxpayers picking up the tab.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  16. Stephanie

    Better health care then the working American. What a joke he would have been dead if he was taking care of himself on the system that is in place now. – Stephanie Jersey City, NJ

    February 16, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  17. pat in michigan

    it says they shold have plugged him into tyhe stereo a long time ago . this jerk killed a bunch of people each time he was let out of prison.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  18. JENNA

    What does it say about the criminal justice system when a 94-year-old man dies of natural causes on death row?

    And why again was he not executed you know when he was sentenced to two life sentences for a robbery and murder and escaped and murdered again?

    If he had mental issues then why wasn't he in a mental hospital?

    Roseville CA

    February 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  19. Cheryl in Bluffton, SC

    While I am in favor of the death penalty in some cases, the cost of the appeals process is draining our criminal justice system. Just lock them up for life or until they're no longer capable of doing harm.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  20. Rick from Baldwin, NY

    This is what is to be expected from liberals who resist the death penalty at every turn. Clearly, this person could not be reformed by detention. khalid sheikh mohammed already has more then six years on the books with no prosecutors preparing for the trial. He's either going to get penalized time served or he's going to die at the age of 94, like nash, waiting for the Obama administration to make a terror trial decision. How's that for the state of our criminal justice system?

    February 16, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  21. Mike in Guatemala

    I'd say his death came 26 years too late. I'd put a one year limit on appeals and then execute those whose appeals fail. The courts would be oligated to hear all appeals within the one year limit. Keeping convicted murderers on Death Row for years and years is an abuse. As the saying goes, " Don't do the crime if you can't do the time." Not much sympathy here.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  22. marlene

    What the American criminal justice system says is "if you to the crime, you do the time". Sure it's not perfect, but what is? If this criminal was let out early, what cost would it entail for the next crime he did? How much is a life worth, anyway? Ask Toiyota?

    February 16, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  23. KellyE

    I would say the justice system rocks! There should be no capital punishment in the first place.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  24. Terry, Chandler AZ

    If a person is convicted and given a death sentence he/she should be sent free. Later if he or she is discovered dead in an alley with a bullet in the head, oh well, too bad, so sad. And no investigation.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  25. Cal Boomer, Oceanside, CA

    So he get the death penalty at 67. Then he dies at 94 on death row. He has killed several times and has felonies back to 1930 ! ARE YOU KIDDING ? He was where he should be – On death row. No court would have OK'd a needle for him but, dementia or not, he needed to be there.
    The only thing wrong with this whole case is he should have been executed 60 years ago. Perhaps some of our hundreds of thousands of felonious inmates in this country should be aware that the general public will not put up with their BS and a long stay in prison is in their future if they don't get straight. On a similar note, we, the general public, need to fund the these criminals retirement – From crime !

    February 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  26. Mr. D

    It means the criminal justice system is dead or at least is eligible for long term care. Why is it getting so hard to fix things in this country? Could it be too many lawyers and not enough political will to take strong action where needed? What a country.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  27. Dennis North Carolina

    justice was never served but all the lawyers got paid. ha ah ah

    February 16, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  28. Carl

    It's plane to see that our justice system has been broken for many years, as well as our government.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  29. Ryan, CT

    This country is a joke when it comes to the death penalty! We are spending millions of dollars to keep these lowlifes alive.

    It’s about time we change the appeal process and finally let justice prevail!!

    February 16, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  30. steve in florida

    To me, it says that the system isn't perfect, but if an error was made, at least it was on the side of caution and not on an urgency to end a life, no matter what the circumstances. Besides, there are some things worse than death, as they say. Being in prison at 94 might qualify.It's not like he was on Carribean Cruise. Some might even say he got off easy.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  31. JW Georgia

    The dude was sentenced to die, and he did. What's the problem?

    February 16, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  32. S, Michigan

    There has to be a limit- say 5 years from sentencing to exhausting of appeals.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  33. Kelly

    Justice delayed is justice denied, for both the killer and the victim. If he was sentenced to death in 1983, he should have exhausted all possible appeals and been executed in 1985.

    If they need a special fast-track appeals process to accomplish that, fine.

    The death penalty is an effective deterrent, but only if it actually gets carried out.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  34. Bud Rupert, Reston, VA

    It does not say much Jack. You can argue this issue to dooms day and nothing will happen. "It is, what it is". I abhore that hackneyed phrase, but it applies in this case

    Any system of justice has it's flaws and unfairness processes. But, the question is: What can be done to make it better?

    The system will always be critized irregardless of what's done.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  35. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    I'd say that appeals should be limited to one, and have to be decided within 6 months of the original trial. Given the repeat offender rate, it also would be a good idea to extend the death penalty to all homicides, and most other violent crimes.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  36. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    It says that our criminal justice system still has some humanity. It says that we will not stoop to the lowlyness of character comparable to criminals. It says we believe in the value of life.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:47 pm |

    OUR politicians are playing chest with our money and lives. They make promisises and for get about it and try to delay something to say they are doing something,But they are just watching each other and don't worry about justics.The real justis is to get rid of (ALL) politicians

    February 16, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  38. Allen in Hartwell Ga

    Jack, in the six years I spent in Saudi Arabia I learned one thing that they can teach us – swift justice. If it's the will of the court and the offended family it's worth doing quickly. Otherwise we might as well turn them loose on society and hope for blood vengence.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  39. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Charles Manson is 75 years old. If let out at any age I would think he'd be just like he was before going to prison. 94 years would have seemed to have mellow the person but, he does seem to have earned a life sentence, especially after killing after he was let out before. The word Incorrigible come to mind.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  40. Terry Gnsbg,IN "Hoosier Hillbilly"

    Just imagine how much this has cost the American taxpayers.
    Jack you took the words 'right out of my mouth' & think how many mouths could have been fed with what he cost "US"!
    Government is 'broke' , we know that in more than one way!
    He should have been put to the wall, blindfolded, and you know the rest. I think that would help stop crime.
    Do you really think a guy like this has a right to live? After the first murder it should have been done, look at the heartache and sorrow it would have saved so many.
    Same for child molesters first offence is their last!!!!

    February 16, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  41. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    Considering his background he should have been put to death years ago when the death penalty was carried out. I am not crazy about it because there have been so many innocents there for years and even put to death but with DNA today they have a chance of being exonerated. This man was an exception to that rule.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  42. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    C'mon, what is wrong with dying on death row? Should he be charged with evasion of his punishment?

    February 16, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  43. southerncousin

    It says we need more criminals to die in jail. When you get a life sentence, it means life. Lesson in personal responsibility.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  44. John Kruger

    II"s actualy the the best form of punishment ever!
    Imagine waking up each morning not knowing if today is your last day. I'm most certain his victims didn't know it was their last day either.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  45. Rory Murray

    It means we need to start getting serious about putting death row inmates to DEATH. Need someone to pull the switch? There are many Americans like me that would be happy to have that, or any job!
    Time to "thin out the herd"!
    Rory Murray
    San Bernardino, CA

    February 16, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  46. Darren

    What a punishment though, knowing you are going to die on death row for your crimes and God comes along and saves the taxpayers the flipping of the switch, per se.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  47. Albert K., L.A., CA

    Jack, if he was imprisoned since he was 15 years old. and died at 94, it says public option health care works pretty good and we should reconsider it.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  48. Lynn

    We USE to have a criminal justice system, now we have a criminal LEGAL system, created by poorly trained law enforcement, sustained by lawyers for job security and perpetuated by politically correct judges afraid of their own shadows – there is no longer any respect for the public jury of 12 and their findings. Lynn, San Diego CA

    February 16, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  49. Ed from MD

    Empty beds are bad for wall street.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  50. Evian in Austin

    It says we need to get rid of the death penalty. It isn't a deterrent. Just as Viva Leroy... oops.. too late.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  51. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    It says that is you do the crime YOU DO THE TIME!!!!
    UNLESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU ARE!!!
    Rich or famous or currupt then you get
    no time but a good time.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  52. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Our system is antiquated at best. We need to bring Judge Roy Bean back to life and resolve all of this and save many lives and billions of dollars. It also might be a good idea to get rid of all of the lawyers and the sooner the better.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  53. Zach - DC

    It says that the State is making sure that they get right who they put to death. However, with that rap sheet he should have been put to death 70 years ago.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  54. BOB WHITE, Kansas

    Our society in the US is more about punishment than about justice. That is why we are always at war. Internally and externally! There will never be peace without justice, or justice without forgiveness and honest reconcilliation among people. Americans are only about "getting-even and settling-the-score." Americans can't even play without cheating and fighting.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  55. ROD Chicago

    Whats wrong with it Jack? Sounds like justice to me. There are plenty of ways our government can save money. Letting convicted murderers out early just so that you "feel" better about it is a stupid idea.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  56. Ed from California

    It's the old saying, "What do you call a thousand Lawyers at the bottom of the Ocean"? An empty death row. (Death row would be working) Think about it!

    February 16, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  57. M & M

    Jack, when it comes to putting someone to death, it's best to take things slow and make sure that the person is in fact guilty. These folks are criminals. They belong in prison until their dying day anyway.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  58. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    I think it says that our criminal justice system needs to be changed. Not only for a 94 year old man being on death row since he was 27 years old and was proven guilty without a doubt. But also for the many innocent people that we put in prison for years and some even executed that were innocent. But today, if you're rich you have no problem staying out of jail no matter whether you're guilty or not.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  59. Joe CE

    People are often on death row too long. There should probably be a law that converts a death sentence to life after 15 years on death row.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  60. Jerry B. Oklahoma City, OK

    It says that we should be executing more faster. He should have been executed years ago. We are to nice to our criminals, they have more rights then the victims. Rob/steal = loose an arm. Kill = die the same way you killed the other person.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  61. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    Jack, this is the wrong question. It should be why, in a civilized country, there is a death penalty at all. If you look at a list of countries which have the death penalty you'll see some of the most notoriously violent nations in the world. Why is the United States on that list?

    February 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  62. Steve Canada

    And we wonder why we are out of money.....IDIOTS..!

    February 16, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  63. ben stockton, calif

    what a waste of taxpayer money .. this criminal should have been executed many years ago.. after all appeals have run out , all on death row should be put to death.. the problem is with the ACLU and the bleeding hearts that dont agree. come on this dude was a career criminal and doesnt deserve leniency and he murdered someone.. get rid of the whole bunch.. only in america!!!!!!!

    February 16, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  64. Peg from NY

    The criminal justice system clearly neds a JOLT!

    February 16, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  65. Gary Roberson

    The way it worked out, he wasn't given the death penalty. He was given life. The death penalty was given to his victims.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  66. Charles in Lawrence, NJ

    Capital punishment isn’t politically correct no matter how conclusive the evidence, a result of Christian manipulation, but spending millions of dollars over decades to keep God’s mistakes alive is. It provides jobs, especially in a state with a privatized prison system. Maybe it’s time to make murder a federal instead of state crime, Timothy McVeigh lived less than 4 yrs. after sentencing on Federal charges.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  67. Loren, Chicago

    It says that the 94 year old man was not fit to live in society and the criminal justice system did what it was supposed to do–remove from society those who fail to abide by the rules until such time as they are judged fit to rejoin society. What would you have it do, Jack, let him out because he is old? Do you think old people are incapable of violence against others? This 94 year old had proved otherwise. Should society have to bear the risk of his violent behavior merely because he was old? Sorry, Jack, but age is not a relevant factor, only behavior is.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  68. Jim Z..Ft. Worth...Texas

    It says this Jack..Keep his derriere behind bars and beyond the sight of a law abiding society for however long he lives. It's a hell of a lot cheaper than the process to execute him. Not that I am against it, but the justice system is, also all about the MONEY..

    February 16, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  69. Jill

    All inmates should be released from jail upon serving their sentence, or age 80, whichever comes first. Statistics show that as the inmate's age goes up, his/her propensity for crime goes down.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  70. Tony from Southport

    We don't execute murderers fast enough.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  71. Maria

    There's a fundamental disconnect with our justice system and most of the 'civilized' world. However, if Nash was indeed blind, was sufffering from dementia, etc...then what was his lawyer doing to get him out on humanitarian grounds??? Put the lawyer on death row and let him/her die of old age. Nash should have been in a intensive care nursing home at worst or home with any family at best.



    February 16, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  72. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Tell me that he should have been executed years ago or turned loose. We can fight a world war in less time than it takes to convict and execute a killer. The appeal process should have a time limit of no more than five years from date of conviction.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  73. mdm

    so.... are you advocating accelerating the process to reduce cost?

    February 16, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  74. Tom Preebis

    It tells us that "our" priorities as a country are WAY out of whack!

    February 16, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  75. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    I guess there really is something slower than Congress. I think what it really reflects about the justice system is that you're better off getting sentenced in Arizona than in Texas. There is absolutely zero uniformity, lawyers know this and leverage it to their advantage. Mr. Nash obviously represented a meal ticket for many people in the system, from the judge all the way down to the jailer.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  76. Terry

    Jack that's an easy one, it's called "Prison-Boarding", life-long prison torturing for the crime committed! Our system beleives it's a deterrent to other criminals.

    Enterprise AL.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  77. Lynda, in Greenville NC

    wow he was 94 when he died? it tells me inmates have great healthcare, even when they are destined for a needle in the arm. do we really have to kill someone to get good healthcare in the USA?

    February 16, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  78. Pete

    Last time I checked most prisons are run by the government......................about as efficient and just as what' goes on daily in Washington.
    No surprise here.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  79. Bill- Sarasota, FL

    If he was being held to protect society from him living among society, who was threatened by him at his age and condition?
    The justice system, like all other parts of our government, is broken and has been for years. We have the highest rate of incarceration of any country in the world.
    Using the canary in the mine analogy, these prison canaries died long ago...and no one paid attention!

    February 16, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  80. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, it says we need an express line to the execution chamber. He should have been dead within a year after he shot the cop, however the death penalty opponents would rather support this trash for 70 years at a cost of $250K a year, than execute him. Shows you how stupid they are.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  81. Tom Preebis

    Not only are our priorities out of whack, but America is presently all up in arms about the budget, and just think: how Many Tens of Thousands of dollars does it cost EACH DAY to keep our hundreds of thousands of prisoners incarcerated across America? Not to even Mention the fact that carrying out the death penalty itself is an Immensely Expensive undertaking...

    February 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  82. Mike from Denver

    The wheels of justice turn so slowly, that people literally die waiting for their turn.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  83. riley oday

    I think they leave them on death row so long because we say we want
    them to die, but we dont want to do it. A special court session should hold
    session and set dates. Clear the docket!

    Riley Cincinnati Ohio

    February 16, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  84. Jim


    It says he wasn't able to rob or kill anyone during his last 27 years.

    Reno, Nevada

    February 16, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  85. Steve

    He should have been executed after shooting the cop...

    February 16, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  86. Phil-Wenatchee, WA

    This is all part of our "justice" system...which is in desperate need of overhaul. I can just imagine how much of my taxpayer dollars went to care for this 79-year criminal. Seems to me there needs to be some kind of Constitutional Amendment limiting death row inmates to ONE appeal, and one appeal only. And if that's unsuccessful, then let's start getting rid of these people and start saving the taxpayer the millions it costs to house these derelicts.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  87. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    Well Jack,my feelings are that if they are on death row that they should be executed within a determined amount of time. If this time frame elapses then convert them to life and put them with the general population.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  88. Stan in Boston

    Quite a few people convicted of crimes have later been freed when DNA and other evidence was produced to show that they were wrongly convicted. Our criminal justice system is not perfect; witnesses are not perfect; there will be mistakes. As long as the system will lead to mistakes, we need to be more concerned about convicting an innocent person that not convicting a guilty one.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  89. Kevin (NJ)

    It say's we waisted way too much tax payer money and should have strapped him into a chair after he shot the police officer!

    February 16, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  90. Tina Tx

    And your point is? This man should have been put to death many years back.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  91. Kevin (NJ)

    It say's we wasted way too much tax payer money and should have strapped him into a chair after he shot the police officer!

    February 16, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  92. Len Forster

    Jack, the criminal justice system in this country suffers from a number of problems:

    1.) Out of sight, out of mind. Don't bother me with the facts.
    2.) A very unforgiving public that believes that all criminal trespassers are either violent or sex offenders, neither of which is remotely true, and
    3.) A mind set on the part of Congress that being tough on crime is what the public wants and anything that makes them appear tough is OK.

    Until the public realizes how unfair the sentencing process has become (because of "tough on crime" legislation) and realizes that it could happen to them, nothing will change. And, don't doubt that with 14,000 felony laws in the United States that the odds aren't in favor of more people going to prison. The statistics say that 1 out of 6 men in the United States will spend some time in jail or prison.

    Meanwhile, the public says, who cares?

    February 16, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  93. Sanjay

    Well, society puts these people away for it's own safety, then society also needs to bear the cost to give every chance to that person to proove his/her innocence. The technology advances have proven that system has made errors before.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  94. JB

    Good riddance! As Jack stated "Just imagine how much this has cost the American taxpayers". Capital punishment should be swift and certain...months, not years on death row. Mr. Nash forfeited his right to ever breath free air again when he committed multiple murders. No sympathy from me!

    February 16, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  95. Bubbashrimp2

    Melville, NY.

    Jack, now you see how you and the ACLU and liberal judges have contributed to the descent of this country. And I know you are a big supporter of juris-prudence. I can say that with DNA testing and cameras everywhere, we have been able to bring crimb down. NOW, We just need to put the camera's in the Offices of our politicians and all of our problems would be solved as most of them would be jailed.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  96. Pete

    He was a murder and died in prison. Seems right to me.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  97. George in Canada

    To the USA, "the home of the free", give up the death penalty and get into the 20th century. An 18th century concept does not work

    February 16, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  98. Sue From Idaho

    The criminals are not the only nuts in the bowl!

    February 16, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  99. Scott Stodden

    It say that the justice system is flawed and needs extensive work just like everything else in this country of ours! Why is that a person who kills and harms innocent people can sit on death row for so long? The appeals process should never take this long, if your found guilty of murder and it warrents the death penalty then you should have your execution no more than a year later in my opinion!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    February 16, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  100. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Jack, in the six years I spent in Saudi Arabia I learned one
    thing that they can teach us – swift justice. If it's the
    will of the court and the offended family it's worth doing
    quickly. Otherwise we might as well turn them loose on
    society and hope for blood vengeance.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  101. Layne Alleman

    Jack, Death row or general population, many people are going to die incarcerated when we, the U.S.A., have the largest known prison population on planet earth. It's, unfortunately, another one of those budget-busting problems that no one wants to talk about, or even take a look at to see if changes can be made. It's too much of a hot potato. Here in Illinois, we had a now-convicted Governor decide that there were too many wrongly convicted inmates on death row, so he abolished it. Guess what this is costing my state now? And again, no one wants to talk about it , except at election time. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  102. Michael from Ft. Hood, Texas

    Idiocy gone rampant!! Sounds like the only true way to be taken care of in your golden years is for all persons over 65 to commit a crime. By being incarcerated it will insure that they receive free food, healthcare, and all the amenities, that an elderly citizen on the outside wouldn't receive otherwise. Jack in God's name what is happening to our country???

    February 16, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  103. David A Whitaker

    Jack it a shame that this country still have the death penaty


    February 16, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  104. Flosa

    Yes, our society sure became a better place for having this man on death-row instead of at a mental institution......

    February 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  105. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    They need to clean up their act by PROPERLY checking their files and records of certain inmates and those who are defendants.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  106. Newt Newton, Miami, FL

    Well, at least you don't have an issue with the state having executed the wrong man!

    February 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  107. Greg H - Minneapolis

    He should not have been on Death Row for so long, any more than any other inmate. People convicted and sentenced to death should have a CLEAR avenue of appeals, and a LIMITED time in which to make them. If an inmate does not raise a finger to appeal, and waits until their last hour, too bad!! One reason why executing an inmate today costs so much is the endless appeals over the most trivia of concerns.

    And if a hastened appeals process results in an innocent being put to death, those "responsible" for mishandling evidence and/or testimony should be the ones penalized, not the state which in good faith has to presume innocents until evidence proves otherwise. With a quicker appeals process, perhaps the death penalty will be a deterrent to crime. At least it is the ONE FORM of punishment with a 0% recidivism rate!!

    February 16, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  108. Bill - Upper NY state

    There needs to be a limit! No more appeals or extra time after the Supreme Court either decides to hear the case or refuses. Then it's pull the switch or shoot the juice. End of story, end of pathetic life.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  109. William Courtland

    It is personally a good thing as Justice then represented the ten commandments. Keeping the stones of mass sin to respect the want or willingness for violence when under other stressful events.

    So to kill: it must be their choice: a game out of Antarctica. While those not willing to chance death: will be deported out of civilization: to an island built not to disturb natural wildlife and so allowing an island of incivility to be produced which is guarded by international Navy co-operation: it part of America: so it is not deportation... Yet the embassy their does not have staff. Camera's: it near to hell... A movie would illustrate the point better...

    February 16, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  110. Fernando McGregor

    So many laws made every day. This country is ruined by lawyers. From Henry VI by Shakespeare:
    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers". – (Act IV, Scene II).
    makes you think sometimes....

    February 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  111. Homeless D in Atlanta

    We just can't bring ourselves to pull the switch, or stick in the needle.

    It also means that, since the death penalty does not seem to be much of a deterrant, we should just scrap it and settle for real life in prison for such offenders.

    But it also means thatwe need to figure out a way to house a prisoner at less than the cost of a family of four, for a year!

    February 16, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  112. Jim

    Jack, it tells me one or two things. First of all, I don't know the full story but if the man was elderly and in bad health, he probably couldn't make it on the outside on his own anyway. Having said that, you have to wonder why this man was "lost" in the criminal justice system for so long with people committing crimes equal to or worse than his every day now and walking the streets again in 10-15 years. Personally, I think it's a travesty of justice and only goes to show you how corrupt, unfair and incompetent our justice system has become. We should all be outraged!

    February 16, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  113. jim Blevins

    The problem isn't just the criminal justice system, it is the American society. Most Americans have a totally insane fear of dying. The absurd thing is that most pretend to believe in Heaven. If they truly did, dying would clearly be something that they look forward to. Since they are so afraid to die, they regard executing people as a terrible thing. Surely, it would be much better to get the execution over quickly than to spend many years in prison. It would certainly be much better for society to execute all dangerous criminals that to fill our prisons with them. Anyone who is afraid to die really should get professional help.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    February 16, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  114. Winston

    Someone like this degenerate should have executed 5 minutes after his conviction. The fact he was still alive after 27 years on death row highlights the obvious fact that the system is badly broken. All the rules are set up to protect the criminals. The victims get victimized again by the “Justice system.” I’m surprised more people don’t take the law into their own hands as the system doesn’t protect us.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  115. Viv from NY

    Well Jack you are saying he was death blind and had dementia so where else was he going to go ? Are you suggesting we should have excuted him ? Sorry but I am no fan of the death penalty even for him. We don't rehabilitate prisoners here like they do in some countries thats the problem. And besides the death penalty is actually very costly you got Pre-trial motions, expert witness investigations, jury selection, and the necessity for two trials - the death penalty isnt a cheap alternative.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  116. Marc

    It tells me that the death penalty is costly...and unnecessary. His escape aside (he should have been in maximum security facilities anyway), for the last 26 years, this guy was off the street, away from the public, and made expensive appeals a HOBBY. Life without the possibility of parole should be an option provided to juries in every case. Dying in prison is no different from, well, dying in prison.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  117. Bev

    They kept him from killing anyone else. I guess he got his just desserts. He must have been a rough and tough guy.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  118. keith in ky.

    That this murder was given to many court hearings, and should have been put to death a long time ago!

    February 16, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  119. Karen - Nashville TN

    Jack, it simply isn't right to discriminate on the basis of age alone. And who wants to make the decision that an old man with a violent history, and who isn't thinking clearly, can't still be dangerous? I agree that this is a tragic situation, but I'm afraid I feel more empathy for the victims. In cases like this where there is no doubt of guilt, a life sentence should mean life, and death sentences should be carried out without decades of delay.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  120. Joseph

    It means he was receiving socialized medicine while he was there. Joe in Delray Beach, Florida

    February 16, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  121. Alex in Gig Harbor

    It means he served a life sentence. It sounds like every time he was released he killed again so he deserved to be in prison for life.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  122. Karl from SF, CA

    It says we are stupid and love to squander our tax money. That man ended up serving a very expensive life without parole sentence on death row. Here in California the report of the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice (2008) said it costs $90,000.00 per year per 670 death row inmates for a total of $63.3 million. The cost of a system which imposes a maximum penalty of lifetime incarceration instead of the death penalty would be $11.5 million per year. You do the math. That’s $17,200 per inmate. What are we getting for that extra $72,000.00 each per year? It’s a total waste that accomplishes nothing in the end. Our schools and roads need it more than prisons do.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  123. The Broker.

    "Well he won't need Health-Care now. You have looked after him for long enough! What would/could he do? How would he have lived on the streets? Some of those are said to be dependant on after service care.."

    February 16, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  124. Joseph Kavanaugh

    I have served this country in the Marine Corps for 20 years against all enemies, foriegn and domestic. If domestic individuals commit murder, I am for the eye for an eye tactic. Individuals that take lives should be put to death as long as the fact finding body is 100 percent correct. The tax payers should not have to shoulder the burden of one sitting on death row for years and then dies of natural causes. Seems like an amendment is in order when it comes to capital murder...Those that live by the sword shall die by the sword!

    Postal Joe
    Rock Hill Post Office, NY

    February 16, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  125. Nicholas Weber Green Bay, WI

    The criminal justice system in the United States needs a lot of work. If someone is sentenced to death 27 years ago then they should have been put to death a long time ago. Great to know that our tax dollars are being wasted on such wonderful causes. Our prisons are out of control- even though their job is to control. Lets put our prisons in prison if we have so much money for all of this.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  126. Kevin

    This is hardly surprising to those of us involved in the criminal justice system (I'm a prosecutor). While the death penalty appeals to the primal "eye for an eye" instinct in all of us, the reality is that it costs far more to execute someone than it does to imprison them for life, due to all the mandatory appeals they get. After all, lawyers can't work for free, and decades of work means a lot of lawyer's fees.

    In the end the vast majority of criminals sentenced to the death penalty end up dying of natural causes. I think California's executed something like a dozen people in the last 40 years? Not only that, but many studies have shown the death penalty has a negligible deterrent effect on the commission of crime. Which makes sense, because people who commit capital crimes aren't thinking about the consequences of being caught.

    Then consider the falsely accused and the systemic injustice, and the picture becomes pretty clear. I'm not morally against the death penalty, I think there are certain crimes that deserve the ultimate penalty, but I have serious problems with how it's implemented currently.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  127. Mark

    It says we need to fire Uncle Sam and hire Gorgon Gekko.

    – Boston

    February 16, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  128. Tory, Georgia

    It says we should have hung him long ago. Other countries do it because they cannot afford to keep these criminals around. Now that this country is flat broke, it needs to rethink every aspect of how it spends money. Hanging is cheap – as long as there is NO DOUBT the condemned is guilty.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  129. Sly, Michigan

    Why do you think they call it the Criminal Justice System Jack? "Justice For The Criminal".

    February 16, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  130. Ken in NC

    I don't know what it says about our criminal justice system but in Arizona it says when they give you life in prison or death, that's what you get. Life or death or both. In this case it was both.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  131. J.L from NJ

    It says that we should be ashamed to even have a death penalty. Do we determine whether a person lives or dies depending on the cost of keeping them in jail for life? Thou shalt not kill is not only for abortion opponents .....it is a law found in all religions. God can still work on and with a convicted murderer and we have no right to deprive Him of that opportunity, no matter how much it costs.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  132. Sandra

    It says that the death penalty is MUCH more expensive to the State than a life sentence without possibility of parole. If we can't get it banned on moral grounds, we should come to our economic senses and ban it on fiscal grounds. Furthermore, I personally object to the notion that the jury system is somehow infallible in its determinations of guilt - too many errors have been discovered too late to do any good for the wrongly imprisoned and their families. A little humility is in order here. Get the evil-doers off the street, by all means; but do it in a moral AND a fiscally prudent way.
    Sandra in Colorado Springs, Colorado

    February 16, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  133. Birddog in mississippi

    Given this mans track record, it means that we need longer sentences or better rehabilitative services for initial violent crimes. As it stands now, people generally spend more time in jail for non-violent crime than for violent crime. The death penalty is a worthless piece of crap. It costs more than life incarceration, it doesn't prevent crime, it gives the illusion that state governments are 'tough' on crime, but really affects nothing.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  134. sosickandtired

    This just totally behooves me that tax payers money is again wasted on FREE room and meals an individual that not fit to breath on the face of the earth. Considering all that he done ( taking away three lives showing no remorse in the fisrt two, escaping from jail and killing another ) Dealth Penaly should mean EXACTLY that DEATH !!!!!

    February 16, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  135. gashan farah

    the criminal system is a joke !

    February 16, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  136. felicia

    very funny!

    February 16, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  137. rich from wisconsin

    Jack, it means that the best business to be in right now is building and housing prisoners.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  138. Pat from Connecticut

    It shows that nothing gets done in the criminal justice system either – not just Washington..........

    February 16, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  139. marc in Dallas

    Jack I was a called as a character witness in a capital case in California. Get this I'm from Dallas and this guy was already convicted and given a life sentence but yet the prosecutor wanted to pursue death penalty. They flew me out there first class to testify for less than 10 minutes. Even better, that was a hung jury so a year later they pay me to come out again! Ultimately he did get the Death penalty instead of the life sentence but this is California, they haven't executed anybody since the 70's, aren't they supposed to be having budget problems? It's completely screwed up to say the least!

    February 16, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  140. sa4ik

    About the 94 year old on death row... It's pure bull and we need to stop sheltering those who should die for thier crimes, stop paying for them to breath our air and just take them out once the appeal process has run it's coarse. Ever got that kind of time to file an appeal on your tax's?

    February 16, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  141. David L. Youngblood

    He had a good lawyer. Price we pay for democracy as imperfect as it is. Not that much compared to many other programs.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  142. marshall green

    The system works.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  143. katiec Pekin, IL

    Our state put a moritorium on the death penalty as 13 people had been wrongly executed.
    Until we fix our broken justice system, prosecute those who knowingly try and convict regardless of innocence, bring charges and pursue the overly ambitions prosecuters, over zealous or under performance of the law enforcers, return to innocent until proven guilty, provide capable, competent representation for those accused I cannot support the death penalty.
    Too many horrible mistakes have been made.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  144. Tim in Texas

    The death penalty is pretty worthless - the only reason to have it is that you can use it to plea bargain somebody down to a life sentence.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  145. JoAnne

    Will it would depend on the situation. But I do not think he will committ another crime so why not let him spend the last days of his life with his family.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  146. George

    This is clearly an indication that our criminal system needs to be reformed. But it will not happen unless the Republicans can get credit for the idea and the reform.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  147. A.J. Kralovec

    It says the system works..albiet slowly. Like everything else happening in government, all of us "inmates" are slowly being bored to death. Have you ever been called to jury duty? I'll bet most of Nash's jurers died waiting for his demise.
    A.J. in Cave Creek, AZ

    February 16, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  148. David L. Youngblood

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    He had a good lawyer. Price we pay for democracy as imperfect as it is. Not that much compared to many other programs.

    Dave Youngblood
    Joplin, Mo

    February 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  149. Henry

    Daer Jack: The question is not why he died at an advanced age, but rather why he was not executed earlier. Why was he allowed to remain in prison for so long at taxpayer expense! Studies have shown that the rate of recidivism for criminals is quite high. Those that are violent felons should not be paroled only to commit heinous crimes again and then for us to second guess why we didn't keep them incarcerated.I firmly believe in the death penalty for heinous crimes where the proof is incontrovertible. This man's victims were not allowed to grow old with their families. He shouldn't have either.
    Manhattan New York

    February 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  150. Jimmy in Greenville, NC

    It says that living on death row is pretty healthy.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  151. Lois Atlanta, Ga

    I wish I could explain or understand the criminal justice system. I wish I could explain why there are son many young menand women sitting in prisons, for minor crimes or drugs related crimes, when they could have their sentenses commuted for serving their country. Do you know how much money the Government could save if we stop supporting these young men and women? They could be out serving their country and supporting their families that the governmnet now support.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  152. John Russellville, Arkansas

    Should have put him through the express check-out lane.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  153. Dave Butler

    Actually, he was lucky. He got free food and lived free in a private suite in an exclusive gated community. Oh yes, he also got free medical care.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  154. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Now that is funny Jack! I guess from all his appeals, others made a good living!

    February 16, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  155. Mel

    Where would you put him? In a nursing home? You did not mention relatives, but doubt that they would want to incur the cost of keeping him. He killed two people so he should spend the rest of his life in prison or die. Jack, would you like to let him use your spare bedroom. Sorry, you kill, you get punished. It may be expensive, but consider the alternatives.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  156. maryanne/ontario

    Jack, the justice system speaks the same language here as it does for the ability of convicting innocent people. It's broken, needs an overhaul,
    and frankly, I just don't understand why there isn't a public outrage as both instances are costly to the taxpayers.
    Take the over-zealous lawyers out, limit the number of appeals by criminals, and afford accountability by limiting the years of procrastination.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  157. Tim in Texas

    I'd say the better question is, "What does it say about our society that we have such an enormously high rate of violent crime?" Are there school shootings in Canada – not many if any. How about armed robbery? Much lower rate than the US. What is it about Americans that makes us so violent? Might it be our total faith in free market capitalism? Self interest at all cost? I'm not saying I know the answer - but the question is worth asking.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  158. Guy from Hawaii

    It says that the life expectancy on death row is actually longer than for those who are not in prison. They get plenty of sleep, 3 squares a day, and get to do some aerobic walking in an enclosed area a few times a week. Only in America! Land of the free and home of the "you gotta be kidding me!"

    February 16, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  159. Marvin Hook

    A justice system must be three things to deter crime, swift, sure and fair.
    Unfortunately this case met none of these.

    M Hook
    Chandler, AZ

    February 16, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  160. David L. Youngblood

    Wonder if he ran accross Bonnie and Clyde? Good trade off I would think. We got 2 for 1 in that deal.

    Dave Youngblood
    Joplin, Mo

    February 16, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  161. Ronda (from Canastota, NY)

    Jack, it says that limits should be put on how long prisoners sentenced to death for a capital crime should remain on death row before being executed, as well as denying all appeals except in cases where new evidence has been found that would completely exonerate the prisoner (such as DNA, a confession by the real perpetrator, or a credible witness coming forward after the fact). If no exonerating evidence is found, then execute the prisoner within a maximum of 2 years. Costwise to the taxpayer, it's cheaper than a life sentence. And justice will have been done, as the prisoner was already found guilty by a jury of his peers.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  162. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    It says sentence served the system works .

    February 16, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  163. David Wills


    Age and money are irrelevent if justice was done. In this case it sounds as if the individual spent his life in the right place. He was probably very comfortable in his final years as he might have been in the only other reasonable alternative: an expensive nursing home.

    David Wills

    February 16, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  164. Brandon in Alaska

    We need to classify these cases differently. If someone is blatantly guilty of whatever they are accused of, expedite their execution. If there is a possibility that DNA or other evidence may surface later on, maybe give it a while longer. But then again, shouldn't they already have been "proven guilty" if they are on death row?

    February 16, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
  165. Emmet Wilson

    What this shows is that the Justice System is broken by allowing death row inmates to continue to file appeals which only make the defense attorneys rich and the tax payers poorer having to pay their room and board. Death row inmates should only be allowed 1 year to file all appeals and then executed.
    Each one of them has been given a fair trial and been penalized with the ultimate death sentence because they cannot live among the rest of us. The Justice System need to do all of us a favor and execute.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:52 pm |