Suffering made worse by continual delay

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 31, 2007

&8220;Do not believe that possibly you can escape the reward of your action.&8221;

&8212;Ralph Waldo Emerson

On Christmas Eve 1980 Darrell Grayson and an accomplice, Victor Kennedy, broke into the Nabors Street home of Annie Laura Orr with plans to steal money for Christmas gifts.

Grayson and Kennedy crept into Orr&8217;s home through a basement door as the 86-year-old slept. Orr died after being bound by tape and suffocated with a pillowcase.

Both men were convicted of murder in June of 1982, confessing at trial to raping and beating the great-grandmother after finding little money in the home.

Grayson was executed this past Thursday for his role in the crime; Kennedy in 1999.

A pair of wedding rings and $30 were the only tangible items taken during this savage crime.

But the two most certainly took much more from the Orr family and the Montevallo community.

They took peace of mind from a picturesque Southern town, and they took the life of a gentle, kind-hearted lady who was loved by her family, her friends and her community.

The tragedy that befell the Orr family on that Christmas Eve was not the end of the injustice they would be forced to endure. No, they would be forced to wait more than 9,700 days for the judge&8217;s sentence to be carried out at Atmore&8217;s Holman Prison.

Justice for victims, their families and also for the accused and convicted cannot be served in such an excruciatingly slow manner; doing so compounds the suffering for all concerned.

Based on the facts of the case and the confessions of the killers themselves, little doubt ever existed that Kennedy and Grayson where properly accused or convicted.

Four other men from Shelby County sit on Alabama&8217;s death row today: Alan Eugene Miller, Michael Brandon Samra, Eugene Milton Clemmons II and LaSamuel Lee Gamble.

Each stands convicted of murder ,and each deserves swift justice just as do the victims of their crimes.

The appropriateness of capital punishment can and should be debated in Alabama, but certainly, if justice were to require that any criminal face their maker at the hands of an executioner it would be appropriate for the likes of Grayson and Kennedy