Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

The Death of the Death Penalty: Two Stories

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    NEWSLETTERS

    With governor's signature, Illinois becomes 16th state in nation banning capital punishment.

    Pamela Bosley cries at least once a day, she says, as she mourns the death of her oldest son, 18-year-old Terrell.

    "I miss my baby.... His hopes and dreams was (sic) just ended," she said.

    Terrell Bosley was shot to death on April 4, 2006 in a Southside church parking lot before the start of chorus practice. He was a gospel bass player, college student, and just a good kid, his mother recalled.

    "He played for many different gospel artists. And he was my best friend," she said.

    Last summer, the family offered a reward for the arrest of Terrell's killer, who has never been found. She wanted the death penalty, calling it "a deterrent," even in Chicago's most crime-ridden neighborhoods.

    "Nobody wants to be killed. No one wants to die. If someone shoots a gun, everybody's going to run," she said.

    Bosley met with Gov. Pat Quinn two weeks ago to urge him to keep the death penalty.

    She prepared herself for Wednesday's repeal, but stands behind her support for the ultimate punishment.

    "If you kill somebody you've got to suffer the consequences," said Bosley. "I don't want them to breathe if my son is not breathing."

    "The death penalty has never brought back a single victim. It's never done that. People say it gives them closure. How does it give them closure?" questioned Chicago attorney Steve Greenberg, who at trial defended one of the 15 death row inmates whose sentence got commuted by Quinn.

    Brian Dugan got the death penalty for the murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico in 1983.

    "He shouldn't have been subjected to the death penalty because what he did," said Greenberg. "I know people will criticize me for this, but what he did was heroic in coming forward and keeping other people innocent people from getting killed."

    Before Dugan confessed to Nicarico's murder, Rolando Cruz and Alejandro Hernandez spent years on Death Row, wrongly convicted. Greenburg said the case shows the flaws of the death penalty, and he stresses that no one should think Dugan is getting off easy.

    "Brian Dugan is probably doing the same thing he's done every day the last 25 years. He's reading books.  He's writing letters. And he's wasting away his life... It's an awful way to live, just waiting to die," said Greenberg.