To the editor:
The letter “Fight bill on death penalty” by Sister Camille D’Arienzo, et al., on the death penalty demands my response.
Our son, New York State Trooper Andrew J. “AJ” Sperr was murdered in cold blood on a “routine” traffic stop shortly after noon on March 1, 2006. It was within five minutes of a nearby bank robbery, of which he was totally unaware. He was shot twice as he approached the vehicle, but managed to return fire and seriously wound both his assailants, who were subsequently captured. His killer, Anthony Horton, shot him twice more, once fatally, as he returned to the getaway vehicle for less than $2,000 stolen. Horton was quoted by his partner as recognizing that there was no death penalty in New York state, implying no added risk — beyond prison time — to them. He has since been sentenced to “Life without parole…”
The good sister and her well-meaning friends believe this will prevent further bloodshed. The appeals process is already underway, barely a year after the trial and sentencing.
AJ left behind 10 siblings, parents, numerous nieces and nephews who he loved and who worshipped him. His colleagues in law enforcement respected him for the fair way he treated everyone, even those on the other side of the law.
If the letter writers will check the records, they will find that Law Enforcement Officers, especially Corrections Officers are being killed by prisoners who face no added penalty as the law currently exists.
I sincerely believe that our son would be alive today had Anthony Horton faced the death penalty. The lives of many other good, worthy people would be saved if it was reinstated.
The murder of a Police Officer in the performance of his duty warrants nothing less.
Andrew L. Sperr