|Andrew J. McDonald|
|In 1989, Matthew Dwight Thompson, then 19 years old, was
convicted of an unprovoked stabbing. He had a prior conviction for assault
in the fourth degree. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
While in prison, he got into fights and threatened to kill a counselor.
Mr. Thompson was paroled after serving 6 months of a 5 year sentence.
While on parole, he broke his mother-in-law's arm and chased her husband down the halls of a hospital with a butcher knife. He also threatened to kill a teacher. His parole officer recommended that his parole be revoked but it was not.
In November of 1994, in another unprovoked attack, Thompson stabbed a young woman and murdered her husband, Andrew J. McDonald, 32. Thompson also murdered Paul Whitcher, age 32, that night.
The life of Andrew McDonald was sacrificed by the state of Oregon in the name of giving a habitual violent criminal a third chance. This demonstrates the utter lack of common sense and respect for the safety of innocent people in the criminal justice system. This was a state-assisted murder.
Matthew Thompson was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to death. In May of 1999, a court upheld Thompson's death sentence but he still has many more avenues of appeal.
Meanwhile, a group of people has formed in Oregon which wants to repeal the death penalty. These same people feel that our sentencing in general is too hard on criminals. They are proponents of the kind of sentencing that allowed Matthew Thompson out of prison after his second assault conviction.
In 1994, the voters of Oregon, disgusted with a system that showed so little respect for the lives of innocent people, passed Measure 11. Measure 11 sets mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of serious crimes. Measure 11 will save the lives of innocent people like Andrew McDonald - if it survives the attack of opponents who want to go back to the old sentencing regime.