The men and women who serve on juries never get enough praise. The 12 jurors and four alternates who spent the last three weeks hearing the case against a neo-Nazi killer in Johnson County are owed a huge round of thanks and a bountiful supply of comforting hugs.
Like jurors all over, they did what was asked of them. They listened to the troubling evidence. They heard details of the fatal shootings of three innocent people, and the near misses involving several others. And they persevered through the defendant’s astoundingly rancid trial demeanor and defense.
Not surprisingly, the jurors spent less than 90 minutes deciding, unanimously, to put the remorseless killer to death. The Star has long opposed capital punishment, and argued that the alternate penalty — life in prison without possibility of parole — would have led to the same result in this case. Yet, these jurors listened closely to Judge Kelly Ryan’s instructions and to prosecutor Steve Howe, who directed them to conclude that all the elements of the case added up to the ultimate punishment.
The jurors stuck with the facts. They included the defendant’s warped tirades — many aimed at the patient people in the jurors’ section — that purported to justify his crime. Time after time on Tuesday, the defendant looked directly at the jury and growled his disdain. He called them lemmings, sheep, traitors to their race, spineless consumers of all the anti-white poison spoon-fed to them by the “Jewish-controlled media.”
The jurors stoically took it. They hardly ever betrayed emotion, disgust, whatever they might have been thinking.
Many people do what they can to avoid the public service of jury duty. The jurors in Ryan’s court stepped up to serve, and gave the public a vivid portrait in courage.