“Before, it was a moralistic standpoint. But it was the law.” Craig Watkins
First elected black District Attorney of Dallas County, Craig Watkins announced in 2007 that he personally opposed the death penalty on moral and religious grounds. This announcement made Watkins famous all around the country, and was highly appreciated by the groups opposing capital punishment.
Now after serving in the office for 3 years, Watkins has changed his mind about the use of death penalty. According to Watkins, he started the job with a philosophical view, but he doesn’t support that anymore. His religious believes make death penalty an outdated way of doing justice, but his job experience has taught him that there are people who cannot be rehabilitated. At the same time, Craig Watkins also has concerns that prosecutors might somehow sent the wrong guy for the death penalty.
According to Watkins, even when he was opposing the death penalty, he still allowed his office to seek it when necessary, and he even helped in successfully prosecuting a death penaltycase two years ago.
Dallas County’s GOP chairman, Jonathan Neerman is calling this shift of Watkins, “playing politics,” and “trying to have it both ways in a political season.”
Watkins fired back by saying that the shift has nothing to do with the politics, and it happened when he prosecuted Robert Sparks, a Dallas resident, who killed his wife, two sons, and raped two of his teenage stepdaughters on Sept. 15, 2007.