Casey McWhorter, my grandfather, Alabama, and the Persistent Immorality of Killing.
I had a close relationship with my maternal grandfather growing up. He could do no wrong, in my opinion. Of course, I grew up after that. My grandfather told me one evening that he had something important to tell me. Recognising the seriousness of the situation, I inclined closer. Any preconceived notions of perfection vanished. He was driving home intoxicated with my grandmother in the car more than 60 years earlier when he crossed the centre line, struck another car head-on, and killed a woman. He would have been in his late 20s at the time. He was young and stupid, of course. “People all make mistakes, right?” was one of his last remarks to me.
As a clergyman serving those on death row, as I do, you come across folks who have committed some pretty serious transgressions. Among those folks is Casey McWhorter. Casey, who was just eighteen, was a member of a group of adolescents that killed and robbed Edward Lee Williams in 1993. This story, like many stories, is far more intricate than can be covered in a few phrases, but for the time being I’ll just leave it at that. I have been serving as Casey’s spiritual counsellor for a number of months.
We’ve become quite close. His memories of biblical stories that always seem to have a Southern twist—I’m not sure if it’s his dialect or the way he recounts them—have really moved me. I’m not fully informed about him. Could I really? How could we be privy to every detail about anyone? All that matters to me beyond the din of his case is that I know who he is. He actually reminds me of my granddad in a weird sense. Numerous useful inquiries have arisen as a result of this acquaintance.
Why is the death of one person more significant than the death of another due to a poor decision made by one? To put it another way, why did my grandfather get to live to be a hundred and ninety-nine while we recently learned that Casey will pass away at the age of forty-nine on November 16, 2023? What part of that is fair?
When it comes to the concept of “eye for an eye” and “tooth for a tooth,” why do certain murderers still have perfect vision and a complete mouth while others do not? None of these questions seem to have an answer that I am aware of. All I know is that I witnessed my grandfather’s protracted demise in his favourite recliner a few years ago.and I’ll witness the state of Alabama murder Casey McWhorter on November 16. Which one is a better murderer than the other?