Mother of 20-year-old murder victim explains why she doesn't want the death penalty for her daughter's accused killer

Darlene FarahABC VideoDarlene Farah is arguing against the death penalty for her daughter’s killer.

Shelby Farah, 20, was murdered during a robbery at the Jacksonville, Florida phone store where she was employed in 2013.

Shelby’s mother, Darlene Farah, wrote in an editorial for Time last week why she doesn’t want her daughter’s accused killer, 24-year-old James Xavier Rhodes, to receive the death penalty.

“I do not want my family to go through the years of trials and appeals that come with death-penalty cases,”Farah writes.
“Unfortunately, despite my requests, the state of Florida is planning to seek the death penalty in my daughter’s case, which is
set for trial in May.”

She continues:

My daughter’s case exemplifies the problems with America’s death penalty. Most counties in the U.S. rarely seek it. A handful of prosecutors in only 2% of counties are responsible for the majority of death sentences nationwide. Unfortunately, my family lives in one of these outlier counties — Duval County, Florida — in which prosecutors seek the death penalty at a much higher rate than others. Officials’ desire for the death penalty in my daughter’s case seems so strong that they are ignoring the wishes of my family in their pursuit of it.

Death penalty trials often drag on in appeals and could bring up memories that disrupt the healing process for the victim’s family and friends.

Due to their length, capital trials often cost taxpayers up to $1.15 million more per case than non-capital trials, according to a study from Seattle University highlighted by Business Insider’s Christina Sterbenz.

While it’s a natural human impulse to want retribution, families of victims in other high-profile murder trials have stated that the death penalty only prolongs their suffering

Bill and Denise Richards, the parents of 8-year-old Martin, who was killed by 22-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, have also come out in opposition to the death penalty, reports Business Insider’s Bryan Logan.

The Richards wrote in an editorial for The Boston Globe that “years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day,” of their lives and that “the minute the defendant fades from our newspapers and TV screens is the minute we begin the process of rebuilding our lives and our family.”

Read Farah’s full piece in Time here »

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