I simply can't make up my mind. I feel that the perpetrators' financial means, and the victims' race and or/social status, play far too great a role in the decision(s) for or against the death penalty (or for a life sentence vs. life without possibility of parole). On the other hand, I'm a big fan of "true crime" books, and I try to put myself in the place of victims' family members who say that executing the murderer doesn't bring closure, or does no honor to the victim, but believe that I wouldn't see it that way. The whole issue is so "gray" to me that I think I'd prefer "life with no possibility of parole", provided the prisoner could be isolated to such an extent that he or she posed very little risk to fellow prisoners or prison personal. Then the thought, "Wouldn't that individual be 'better off dead'?" pops up.
One thing that upsets me on this forum is the number of people who demand the death penalty for rape, and equate rape with homicide. I wonder how many of those who say such things have actually been raped? As a rape survivor who participated in group sessions with other rape victims, I find that attitude to be a slap in the face. Sorry, but we're not emotionally dead, or unable to cope with everyday life, relationships, or sex. Nor do we hide out for the rest of our lives, afraid to venture outside. That attitude does a great disservice to anybody who has been raped. Those who haven't experienced the helplessness, and parrot so-called "experts" who also have no personal experience ("Rape is murder of the soul") are also "objectifying" those who have been raped, and dismissing their abilities to get over it, at least to a certain extent. In doing so, they're approaching the rapists in lack of empathy and sensitivity for other human beings.
End of rant. I just had to get that out.