VICTIMS: Kansas Murder Victims' Families Voice Concerns About Death Penalty

A recent publication from Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation and an op-ed in the Kansas City Star highlight the views of Kansas murder victims’ families on capital punishment. In Voices of Kansas, 13 families that have been affected by murder share their experiences in the aftermath of a loved one’s murder and how that shaped their beliefs about the death penalty. Neely Goen, whose father, Conroy O’Brien, was killed while working as a Kansas State Trooper, said, “The death penalty focuses an incredible amount of attention on the killers, which makes victims’ families relive the painful details of a murder over and over again. At one time I believed that the death penalty would benefit people like my mother and me, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth. What would help us is not to continue to pour money into the death penalty, but dedicating those funds to law enforcement, rehabilitation programs for non-violent offenders, and juvenile programs, to prevent other families from having to suffer a loss like ours.” Two of the featured voices, Rita Boller and Gene Kimmi, whose mother, Patricia, was murdered in 2009, also shared their views in an op-ed in the Kansas City Star. They wrote, “The death penalty keeps families stuck in the legal process, delaying when they can put difficult legal proceedings behind them and begin to heal…Kansas has hung on to its costly and broken death penalty for too long. It’s time that we as a state eliminate this harmful policy.”

(“Voices of Kansas: Murder Victims’ Families Speak Out Against the Death Penalty,” Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation and the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, 2015; R. Boller and G. Kimmi, “Rita Boller and Gene Kimmi: The Kansas death penalty is broken,” Kansas City Star, May 5, 2015.) See Victims and New Voices.