The case against Dean Holmes, the 41-year-old man who confessed to killing his wife Kristi and 11-year-old daughter, Violet, is pretty open and shut.
He walked into Pierce County Jail the morning after murdering them and confessed to police. He spared Pierce County the expense of a lengthy jury trial by affirming his confession to the judge.
He told police that he killed his wife and daughter because of an onslaught of personal insecurities--the family was running out of money and Dean was afraid Kristi would leave him. If he couldn't have her, no one should. He didn't want their daughter Violet to live with the knowledge that her father killed her mother.
According to the Pierce County Prosecutor, Holmes' confession is a sign of remorse. Prosecutor Mark Lindquist issued the following statement today that his department will not seek the death penalty for Holmes and that he will instead serve two consecutive terms of life in prison:
“Dean Holmes will be spending the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole,” said Lindquist. “I made this decision after consultation with leaders in the office. We took into account the severity of his crimes, his remorse as demonstrated by his surrender to law enforcement and expeditious plea of guilty, his lack of felony criminal history, the likelihood of the death penalty being upheld, and other factors. We also talked with the family and they are supportive of this decision. Balancing all considerations, I believe justice is achieved by two life sentences without the possibility of parole.”
Since 1904, Washington State has only executed 78 convicted criminals--none of whom were women. A person in Washington State can be convicted to death by hanging or lethal injection.
For a death penalty conviction to occur, the Prosecutor must seek the sentence, a jury must unanimously agree upon it and all appellate courts, both Federal and State, must affirm the sentence, which can take years.
Would Holmes' conviction have been any different if he pleaded not guilty? Perhaps. Should his remorse about his crimes spare his life? Maybe.
But when you think of Holmes' actions that night--shooting his wife while she was sleeping, driving his daughter's friend home then killing Violet while she slept in the backseat of his car, going out for fast food with her dead body in the backseat--it's hard to argue those actions are anything but inherantly evil.
And Holmes didn't surrender himself to police right away--he spent the whole night trying to clean up the crime before resigning to the fact that he couldn't.
Maybe if he was able to think clearly, he would have attempted to disappear. Murderers who kill their victims in cold blood, then try and cover it up are often eligible for the death penalty.
So we ask you, Patch readers:
Should Dean Holmes have recieved the death penalty for killing his wife and daughter, or do you think life in prison without the possibility of parole is enough punishment? Tell us in the comments.