Tanner Dowler Was Born to John Dowler, Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Tanner Dowler was born to John Dowler, age 39, and his wife Audra, age 19. Nine weeks later, on October 12, his grandparents reluctantly agreed with doctors that life support should be stopped because Tanner had no chance of surviving the beating his father had given him on October 3. Now the state of Colorado has charged John Dowler with first-degree murder, and must decide whether they should seek the death penalty. This paper argues that because of the severity of the crime, John Dowler should face the death penalty if convicted.

It seems unlikely that anyone likes the fact that many states have the death penalty as an option for convicted murderers. Everyone would prefer that people not go to the extreme of taking another person's life. However, some argue that some crimes are so heinous that justice demands that the perpetrator die.

Our country's criminal history is filled with tragic examples of people who were capable of great evil. John Gacy in Chicago killed over thirty young men, burying many under his house in the crawl space. He convinced a young friend to dig many of the graves, telling the young man that he was going to install drainage pipes. Before Gacy, we saw Ted Bundy brutally murder dozens of young women.

Both Gacy and Bundy were executed, but another multiple murderer is still imprisoned in one of California's prisons, and will be eligible to be considered for parole some day. Charles Manson used the force of his personality to dupe vulnerable followers into committing multiple murders for him. Another famous murderer, Sirhan, killed Robert Kennedy in a carefully planned attack while he was campaigning to be elected President of the United States. He has already come
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before the parole board several times, although parole has always been denied so far.

The strongest argument against the death penalty could be made if citizens could be guaranteed that those committed of terrible crimes would never be paroled, but experience tells us otherwise: Polly Klass's murderer, the man who snuck into her home and kidnapped her out of her bedroom had been paroled. While it seems unlikely that either Gacy or Bundy would have been paroled, cases are sometimes overturned on appeal for what seem like trivial reasons to those who want to be protected from convicted killers. If there is any chance that these murderers might ever be released, some feel that this makes a strong case for the death penalty.

So then the question becomes whether John Dowler's crime was severe enough to warrant the death penalty. To consider that, we need to have some information about what John Dowler did. According to news reports, early on October 3 Tanner's mother, Audra, heard him cry in a way that sounded like "a cat's tail in a rocking chair." (AP, 2002). In spite of that description, the parents didn't take the child to the hospital until late that night. After doctors detected the abuse, the child's paternal grandparents were declared the child's guardians and the ones to make medical decisions for him. The child was on life support for nine days, but the grandparents agreed to end life support on October 12, when it was clear the child stood no chance of surviving. The child died shortly thereafter.

Information has been reported in the media that if true, suggest that John Dowler, who cared for the child during the day while Audra Dowler worked, should have…

Sources Used in Documents:


Associated Press (AP). 2002. "Child dies despite woman's plea for help." CNN.com website. November 6, 2002. Accessed via the Internet November 10, 2002. http://www.cnn.com/2002/U.S./Northeast/11/06/childabuse.aftermath.ap

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