Yesterday, a Jefferson County Circuit judge sentenced Said Biyad to life without parole for killing his four children and raping his wife.
Judge James Shake declared it the “worst criminal case” he’s seen during his 18 years on the bench—yet rather than condemn Biyad to death, he sentenced the Somali refugee to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
It is time Kentucky abandon the death penalty. As Judge Shake’s clearly believes, the defendant in the worst case was sufficiently punished by life without parole and the community is protected. Sentences of life without parole are all we need for other cases to protect ourselves and express our outrage at the killing of another person.
Biyad’s sentence does raise the question of fairness in Kentucky’s judicial system though: if the guilty party in the “worst criminal case” gets life without parole, why do other criminals merit execution?