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Crosscurrents

Two parents of murdered daughters react to the halt of the death penalty

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Marc Klaas
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Polly Klaas

Before Governor Gavin Newsom halted the death penalty in California, he met with parents, like Amanda Wilcox and Marc Klaas. Both of their daughters had been murdered, and they both had two very different reactions to the temporary moratorium on capital punishment. 

"It took me right back to the night that she was kidnapped. It just seems to me that someone who commits a crime like that deserves the worst society has to offer."

Marc Klaas’s daughter, 12-year-old Polly, was kidnapped during a slumber party in Petaluma in 1993. He was sentenced to die and is still housed at San Quentin’s death row. Polly’s death galvanized support for California’s three strikes law and President Bill Clinton’s Crime Bill. When Governor Gavin Newsom told Klaas that he was halting the death penalty, Klaas felt angry and disappointed. 

"I just never felt much anger towards him. Whatever happened to him, I wouldn't get Laura back."

Amanda Wilcox’s daughter, Laura, was shot and killed while she was home for winter break in Nevada County, near Lake County. The man who shot Laura was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Laura’s death inspired Laura’s Law, which allows judges to force severely mentally ill people to receive treatment. When Governor Gavin Newsom told her he was halting the death penalty, Wilcox was relieved and felt heard. 

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Credit Amanda Wilcox
Laura Wilcox on a vacation with her family