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Natalie Maguire
Ms. Ingram
English 1 Honors
8 March 2015

Topic: The Death Penalty
1. Introduction
a. Attention getter: Many of you know about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who
is currently on trial for allegedly bombing the Boston Marathon nearly two years
ago. If he is, indeed, found guilty, he will face the death penalty. You may
believe in your heart that the death penalty is a good thing to save us from people
like Tsarnaev or maybe that it is immoral to kill people and that we are only
acting like the murderer himself doing so. I ask that before you take your side
that you look at the pros and cons and statistics of each.
b. Authority (Why you are creditable/ why they should listen): I have
been working on both views of this situation for numerous days.
c. Preview of main points: The main points that I have found to talk
about are some of the most important. They are deterrence of future murderers,
the justness and whether or not the death penalty is the best solution, the
execution of innocent people, and the costs of the death penalty.
2. Body
a. Side one of the argument: The death penalty is good and protects
our country.
i. Main Point 1: Deterrence of the death penalty works
to save lives.
1. Supporting Evidence 1: Isaac
Ehrlich’s research proves that for every execution, seven lives are

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saved due to the fact that potential murders become afraid of
2. Supporting Evidence 2: The death
penalty puts fear into the minds of potential murders because they
do not wish to die. This causes less murders and less prisoners to
act up or attempt escape.
3. Supporting Evidence 3: If a place or
country does not have a lot of murders, then they do not
necessarily need the death penalty. A place or country with a
higher murder rate and the death penalty does not deter everybody,
but referring back to Mr. Ehrlich’s study, each execution is saving
seven lives, so the death penalty is deterring some murderers from
committing murder.
ii. Main Point 2: The death penalty is just and happens
to be the best solution.
1. Supporting Evidence 1: When a
loved one is killed, families need closure and retribution. For that
to happen, the murderer must be executed because after all,
murderers like Richard Ramirez who boast about their murders are
dangerous and unworthy of life.
2. Supporting Evidence 2: As Pat
Buchanan, author of “Executions Deliver Reasonable Retribution”,
has brought up, Karla Faye Tucker, a murderer, gained a lot of
popularity due to the fact that she was a woman and did not have a
murderous personality. If she had not been executed, she “would

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have lived a life of celebrity and surely, one day not too far distant,
would have been released by popular demand”.
3. Supporting Evidence 3: The death of
a murderer brings sanctity back to life.
iii. Main Point 3: Rarely are innocent people executed.
1. Supporting Evidence 1: Not all
claims of innocence are genuine. Many are legal technicalities.
When a ruling is overturned and the case is not retried, does not
make the accused innocent either. It only means that some new
piece of evidence was found that goes against the previous ruling.
2. Supporting Evidence 2: With our
new technology today, we are able to track DNA on weapons and
bodies making nearly impossible to falsely accuse someone of
murder. There are also longer trials and appeals to help prove the
innocence of those falsely accused.
iv. Main Point 4: The death penalty is worth its cost.
1. Supporting Evidence 1: The death
penalty saves lives of innocent people. You can not put a price on
human lives.
2. Supporting Evidence 2: Longer cases
are needed to prove undoubtable innocence; therefore, they do cost
more money, but it is worth it.
b. Side two of the argument: The death penalty is immoral and causes
more harm than safety.
i. Main Point 1: The death penalty does not deter
1. Supporting Evidence 1: Murderers
are not deterred by the death penalty because they think that they

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will not get caught or do not care whatever the punishment might
2. Supporting Evidence 2: According to
Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox, most murders were
“committed under severe drug and alcohol abuse.” When under
the influence, nothing is going to deter you from your goals which
happens to be murder for some people.
3. Supporting Evidence 3: According to
Michigan State and the Death Penalty Information Center, places
with the death penalty enforced have higher murder rates than
places without which shows that the death penalty does not deter
people from murder.
ii. Main Point 2: The death penalty is an inferior and
unjust solution.
1. Supporting Evidence 1: Knowing
that the person who killed your loved one is dead, may make a
family feel better, but this death can never repair their broken
hearts. While death might seem like the greatest punishment, it is
not. Death ends pain and suffering. A life in prison happens to be
much more of a punishment where the murderer can also change
their ways to become a law-abiding citizen again.
2. Supporting Evidence 2: Marvin
Olasky of WORLD Magazine had a chance to interview some
prisoners who were each found guilty of murder. He found out
about their lives in their “5-by-9 cell with a metal sink, a toilet, and
a thin mattress with a built-in pillow on a metal bunk.” As prisoner

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James Zarychta told him, “execution is the easy way out....With
the daily grind of being incarcerated, it consistently runs through
my head: ‘What was I thinking? Why did I do it?’ What keeps me
from going crazy is the thing I’ve learned: Jesus is the one way to
3. Supporting Evidence 3: In Ezekiel
33:11 (chapter 33, verse 11), God says, “I have no pleasure in the
death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and
iii. Main Point 3: Innocent people are killed by the
death penalty.
1. Supporting Evidence 1: According to
Michigan State and the Death Penalty Information Center, for
every eight people on death row, one is found to be innocent. That
means that 12.5% of those of death row are falsely convicted.
2. Supporting Evidence 2: Every
human makes mistakes and the death penalty is one thing that you
can not make mistakes with. The loss of human lives can not be
iv. Main Point 4: The death penalty costs too much.
1. Supporting Evidence 1: Idaho
Legislation has researched that each inmate on death row costs an
average of over $50,000. That amount is significantly higher is the
state of Maryland. They have come to conclude that each
prosecution is $1.8 million while a successful prosecution is excess
of $3 million. Nationwide, taxpayers have paid a total of $4 billion

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for executions since 1978. This cost is about four times greater
than life in prison.
2. Supporting Evidence 2: With trials
going on for years sometimes even decades, the accused have died
of natural causes and all that money for the court case, attorneys,
etc. has gone towards nothing.
3. Conclusion
a. Summary: The death penalty does protect our country and
communities from some evil, but it does not deter all evil. The killing of these
murderers may be just for some people while for others, it is completely immoral.
Death is not exactly harder than life in prison either. Then there is the debate
about the innocent people killed mistakenly by the death penalty. Although, that
rarely happens anymore. This all comes at a very high cost, though, that is not
worth it to some people.
b. Reference to hook: The death penalty deals with serious matters
which includes the Boston bombing. Whether or not Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should
receive the death penalty is not our decision. No matter your beliefs on the death
penalty, I hope that after learning more about the pros and cons and statistics that
each of you are able to either strengthen your view point or reconsider your