This was a letter I sent after the execution of Donald Ray Wallace Jr. It was printed in almost every TV website and newspaper in Indiana. It also went over the associated press so I have no idea what other papers picked it up. Everywhere I visited on the internet, there was this letter.
I woke up this morning, March 10th, to a beautiful sunrise. The sun was bright and clear and I thanked God I was viewing it. I then remembered the passage that I had read at the prayer service for my family...."One day at a time..this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone: and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering". I was then saddened by the thought that there was a father that had just lost his son and sisters that had just lost their brother. It was a strange feeling but I did realize that what I had said for years was absolutely true . I did not hate Donald Wallace but I hated the crime he committed and despised the situation he had caused and I was angry about his years and years of media coverage and antics. I felt it completely unfair the sorrow, agony and pain that was placed on so many hearts. Am I a believer in the death penalty... no. Am I convinced the death penalty is wrong.... no. I am convinced that heinous crimes should have quick and speedy punishment. The crime and loss of loved ones is enough agony that one should bear, much less the constant reminders of the criminal's appeals, protests and constant complaints of his rights and living conditions. I am totally convinced that when a person has been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt that the rights of the criminal should be forever taken away. There was never any doubt that this person was guilty. He not only was sentenced in a court of law but confessed to the brutal crime. Guilt was never an issue. The appeals should have ceased, the rights should have ceased. It is definitely not inhumane to receive meals, medical attention, dental visits, counseling, clean clothes, warm surroundings and an education that is far superior then what is available for many of the average person. As in a Childs punishment, time out is for sitting on a chair and reflecting what they did wrong. It is not an occasion to debate if the chair is too hard, or if the child should receive snacks or breaks when the punishment is being enforced. It is punishment. In the same respect, when a prisoner has been sentenced to incarceration it is not permission for them to take the podium and to protest for additional rights, more TV, free phone calls, more comfortable living conditions and better food. It is a time to reflect on whatever crime they have committed. I find it hard to believe anyone on death row could find rehabilitation and find it even more difficult to imagine these criminals back on the streets. Even as I heard Donald Wallace talk of his belief in God and his belief in not harming anyone, my trust level was not comfortable to even suggest putting him into the same situation as 25 years ago. What would the statistics be whether he would run away this time or simply fight and kill again. His track record was not good before this crime and certainly did not improve with the killing of four innocent people. Do I have the answers.... no, I am just a victim. However, I am a victim with a voice. I am a victim that has endured too much pain, suffering and will never find closure in this man's death but will find closure in the memories of my family. I am by no means the only victim of violent crime. There are thousands and thousands of victims in the world. We do have one voice however, and that voice is change. Change in a system. A system that eventually proves that crime doesn't pay but what is the debt victims pay in order to arrive at the correct conclusion. I ask the Governor, the State of Indiana and the Victims of Violent Crime to speak out. I also ask the pro death penalty and anti death penalty advocates to speak out. Instead of the millions spent on criminals, there should be a time limit on appeals, there should be a final decision if the death penalty should be carried out or not enforced, there should be a victims relief program not with any statutes and not with the enormous and ridiculous set of rules and regulations in order to qualify. There should be a victims relief for years of support for the victims that endure anger, suffering, sadness and financial distress. Enormous financial burdens are placed on the victims left behind which leaves them with more pain, suffering and financial distress. The burden for the cost of the penal system and any victims relief should come from a self sustaining correctional process. It should not be unreasonable or any violation of anyone’s' rights, but a reasonable expectation, that incarcerated criminals be sufficiently productive to support the correctional facility, as well as, to provide relief to the victims, child support, etc.. This would end the victims and the taxpayers burden of supporting criminals over the many years of prison life. Perhaps it would be a greater deterrent to crime if a person knew they would be forced to work and not be allowed to keep the monies that they had earned...the price of their crime would then have a face. There should be in no way the criminal's name remembered and the victims name pushed aside. It should always be the victims first and the crime remembered rather than the perpetrator. Sincerely, Diana & Ted Harrington, Sister of Theresa Gilligan I sent it out to all the media as my statement. I mentioned that this would be my last statement. My book...SURVIVING THE DEATH PENALTY... is the true story of one of the most heinous crimes committed in Indiana...the Patrick Gilligan Family... The crime, the criminal Donald Ray Wallace Jr., the victims and the unrest this death penalty wait held for 25 years. It is a parallel story of both the criminal, the victims and their lives. This story is not only about a cold blooded crime, but also about the journey one travels as a victim. This is the story from the initial crime to its conclusion, with twists & turns that most average people seldom understand or endure. This book tells of the Death Penalty wait for both the criminal and the victims and how their lives are forever intertwined. Stories such as this one are few and far between. Crimes happen in the millions but the victims story, along with the criminal's story, are often not told in their entirety.