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Weak, helpless, angry

July 30, 2009

Re "LAPD traces final steps of teen left dead in car," July 28, and "District's sense of security stolen," July 29

As the mother of a 20-year-old girl, I'm near tears reading the article about this wonderful young woman apparently kidnapped for a few bucks, then murdered and left in her car.

It leaves me weak, feeling helpless and incredibly angry.

The next time a community wants to protest a drug-treatment center in the neighborhood, I will be there carrying a picture of Lily Burk.

What happens when we start letting thousands of prisoners out onto the streets because of a lack of funds?

Sheri Stevens

Beverly Hills

I have written before in support of the death penalty, and here is yet another striking reason I believe in it now more than ever.

I think that the concept The Times' editorial board omits in its opposition to the death penalty is that there are circumstances in which we are no longer dealing with a human being.

It is unfathomable that the suspect in the Burk slaying has been in and out of prison and programs so many times and yet was set loose once again -- to allegedly kill this beautiful child who, ironically enough, volunteered on skid row for the needle-exchange program.

And then this suspect apparently felt so bad that he drowned his sorrows with a nice cold beer.

I can't begin to try to understand what her parents must be feeling at this time.

James Dowling

Downey

::

A 17-year-old girl is found beaten and slashed to death in her car. Images of the suspect are captured by security cameras; keys to the murder victim's car and a cellphone are in his pocket; bloodstains are on his clothing; and he has a history of prison time and parole violations.

If ever there were an opportunity to assure us as parents, law-abiding citizens and taxpayers that we are receiving swift justice from our judicial branch, it is now.

If convicted, this suspect should be sentenced to life without any possibility of parole. The prosecution should not have the option of seeking the death penalty, because we have painfully discovered that with our costly, multi-tiered, ineffective appeals process, the average time spent on death row exceeds 20 years, and the emotional and financial costs far outpace a life sentence.

Nelson Murphy

Lake Forest

::

Am I missing something here? I was under the impression that California has a three-strikes law.

The operative word in your article about the suspect and his record is "repeatedly."

How many times is that? How many times did this suspect break the law or violate his probation or both? Three times? More?

If so, can someone please tell me why this man was out on the streets ... again?

Sally Robinson

Los Angeles

::

My heart breaks for the family of Lily Burk.

To help future victims forced by criminals to withdraw funds from ATM machines, I call on banks to offer the option of a customized emergency personal identification number linked to debit and credit cards. These would allow cash to be withdrawn but would also trigger a silent alarm.

Evie Tole

Rancho Cucamonga

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