ARBITRARINESS: Louisiana Serial Killer Sentenced to Life

Prosecutors decided against pursuing a death sentence for a serial killer in Terrebonne Parish in Louisiana. Roland Dominique, who was arrested at a homeless shelter, pled guilty to the murder of eight young men, and he may have killed as many as 23 men. Terrebonne Parish District Attorney Joe Waitz, Jr. decided against seeking the death penalty after consulting with members of the victims' familes.

The family members reached a unanimous agreement to accept a plan of back-to-back life sentences. Some cited opposition to the death penalty and others desired a more immediate closure than a death-penalty case would allow. “I am comfortable because of the unanimity of sentiment from the families, a sense that they were satisfied that they took part in the process,” said Assistant District Attorney Mark Rhodes. “That unanimity gave us a feeling that we had given them the justice that they sought.”

(M. Foster, “DA: Suspected LA serial killer to plead guilty,” Associated Press, September 22, 2008). See Arbitrariness and Victims.  DPIC note: According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the death penalty is supposed to be reserved for the "worst of the worst" offenders, but frequently the worst crimes are not the ones that result in a death sentence.