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James French decided that he no longer wanted to live. Most people in his situation would have either reevaluated things and decided to live, or they would have commited suicide. French was not your typical man though. He decided that suicide sounded very scary, and decided he wanted someone else to kill him. For whatever reason, he saw a state-aided suicide as the best option. Well states only kill people one way- the death penalty.

French decided that he would kill someone, so that then the state would kill him. His lawyer ended up getting his sentence reduced to life in prison. French decided that he still wanted to the state to kill him, so he killed his cellmate. The state then did kill James French, as he wished.


I will grant you that this is not a very common story, but it is true. I think that this is one side of the death penalty that is never thought about. This story clearly illustrates how the death penalty can be viewed as state sanctioned murder.

The following paragraph came from http://www.oranous.com/humane/suicide-murder.html-

French in Oklahoma

An older case involved James French. He was convicted in 1958 of murdering a motorist. He testified at his trial that he hoped to be executed. His pleas for the death penalty were to no avail. Sentenced to life in prison, he strangled his cellmate and, when tried on the new murder charge, acknowledged his desire to be electrocuted. The state did so in 1966. French admitted that he had always "chickened out" at the last minute on several suicide attempts

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