Late last week, the state of Texas executed it's 11th death row inmate of 2008. His name was Kevin Watts. Watts was found guilty of killing 3 people and kidnapping and sexual assault of a 4th victim.
All for about $100.
This happened less than 3 miles from my childhood home . . . it happened at a local Korean restaurant . . . it happened to people my family knew.
(*Please be aware this post may be too graphic for some after the jump.)
The Sam Won Gardens Korea restaurant was a long time favorite among Koreans, San Antonians and military GIs alike. It was one of only a few places here at the time where you could see a mix of faces - Korean, Caucasian, Hispanic, African American and everything in between - coming together for good food in good spirit. It was a place my family went to often when there was something to celebrate - graduations, new jobs, birthdays - and just because - it's a Sunday night, we're all here and available to meet for dinner, it's been a couple of weeks since we've all seen each other; that kind of place.
All that came to an end on the morning of March 1, 2002.
In the late morning of March 1, 2002 several employees were getting ready for another day of work. For three of them, it would be their last.
Two cooks and the manager/owner's son were murdered execution style and the manager's wife of just two months (she'd been in the US for less than that) was forced to take the car keys from her dying husband, was driven to Watt's home and sexually assaulted.
Watts got away with about $100.
When police arrived on scene at Watts' home, he tried to flee with the wife in the stolen car with him. He was eventually apprehended, arrested, tried and sentenced to death.
The papers didn't report this, but the wife/widow moved back to Korea soon after the trial ended. (We are a relatively small community here in San Antonio, news travels fast and it was a tragedy that rocked us at a particularly violent time for Koreans in San Antonio.)
Watts has never apologized nor shown remorse for the heinous crimes he committed. (His family verbally attacked the victims' families during the trial.)
I know that many people oppose the death penalty. I know that I am not one of those people.
What I also know is that I hope and pray for peace for the victims' families. The survivor - may she find peace.