Leftist newspapers such as the Arizona Republic don’t only despise conservative candidates, elected office holders, voters and opinions; they use their flagging platform to promote their twisted agenda. A recent edition is a case in point. A third of the editorial page was devoted to a commentary titled, “I watched a gas chamber execution. It still haunts me.”
The author protesting the death penalty is Tempe-based defense attorney Jim Belanger. In1982, his client Donald Eugene Harding was found guilty of the wanton 1980 murders of two businessmen, whose names are too irrelevant for Belanger to mention in his lengthy diatribe. Throughout the article, he refers to the homicidal perpetrator warmly as “Don.” What he focuses on is not the heinous criminality of Harding’s acts but what he refers to as “the indignity of being striped nearly naked, wearing a pair of white, diaper-like under shorts with an electric monitor attached to his chest.” Following the guilty verdict came the appeals, and Harding got a reprieve of another ten years before his 1992 execution. That’s more than his victims Robert Wise and Martin Concannon were accorded. In a separate murder, Harding also killed Allen Gage.
Not noted in Belanger’s account of the 10 minutes it took Harding to die, and how he “wanted to vomit as he wept” misplaced tears, is the fact that Harding spent his last moments cursing at then-Attorney General Grant Woods, another state execution witness and giving him the middle finger. The final indignity comes from lawyer Belanger who inconceivably compares the death penalty to being “disturbingly like the one the Nazis deployed to murder millions in the Holocaust.” Belanger is woefully lacking in historical knowledge, Hitler’s victims unlike Harding‘s, were blameless, rounded up and systematically slaughtered in extermination camps for the crime of adhering to their faith. There is no correlation.
Following Harding’s execution, Arizona moved to lethal injection for administering the death penalty. This is the list of those executed by the state of Arizona since capital punishment resumed in 1976.
The Arizona Department of Corrections inmate database fills in the cavernous holes in Belanger’s tale, including numerous prior convictions and the depravity of Harding’s acts. Harding even had the opportunity to order a last meal. He chose “several fried eggs, several strips of bacon, toast, butter, honey and orange juice.”
That was far better treatment than his innocent victims Robert Wise, Martin Concannon and Allen Gage received. They were bound, gagged, beaten and shot in the head and chest at close range.
If you want unvarnished news, the local newspaper is not a reliable source.