Capital Punishment

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Capital Punishment

Monday, February 14th, 2005

   For most of my life I have been opposed to capital punishment as it is ineffective in curving crime. Far too many have been wrongly executed and even when they were guilty it hardly seems as a just punishment. This is however, a very emotional issue that tears at the hearts of all caring people. When I think of the innocent and the families of the convicted I want to opt for life sentence, but when I think of the victims and their families I am not sure that the death penalty is wrong.

   The case in this article is such a situation for me as I know the person from work and though he seemed on edge I would not thought him capable. When I think of his mother I feel that there should be mercy, but when I think of the two women he killed it is hard to argue against the death penalty. Usually, I do not include the full article, but the case is best understood by reading the whole story.


Police say jealousy led to two killings

Police say a man stabbed his girlfriend to death then set fire to her house with her disabled mother inside
Thursday, December 23, 2004

MAXINE BERNSTEIN

On the night of Dec. 10, Mark Allen Litkie was at the home of his former girlfriend, Julia Wilson, to celebrate her mother, Shirley's, 76th birthday.

The next morning, police say, Litkie fatally stabbed Julia Wilson in a jealous rage and then set her home on fire to cover up the killing. Shirley Wilson, who had Alzheimer's disease and could not get out of bed, was burned alive, according to a court affidavit.

Litkie, 43, ran from the house, wearing only his green boxer shorts, police say. He ran two miles to a friend's home, where he was arrested two days later.

On Wednesday, Litkie pleaded not guilty to seven counts of aggravated murder stemming from the double homicide, including one allegation that he intentionally tortured Shirley Wilson. He also pleaded not guilty to first-degree arson and first-degree aggravated animal abuse for the death of the Wilson cat.

Neighbor Janet Thompson said her Dalmatian, Madison, was the first to notice the blaze in the 3300 block of Northeast 63rd Avenue that Saturday morning. Her dog started barking and ran to the door. She said she could see the flames and called 9-1-1 at 7:15 a.m. She then ran to nearby homes, banging on windows and yelling "Fire! "

"I'm devastated because no one deserves to die like that," Thompson said. "There's not much holiday cheer in our neighborhood."

According to court records, Litkie had lived in the Wilson home for seven years until Julia Wilson asked him to leave about two months ago. They had a relationship that others described as "volatile," partly because of Litkie's drug and alcohol use. The relationship was marked by bursts of screaming, slamming doors and dish throwing, witnesses told detectives.

Caretaker at home

Shirley Wilson had a full-time caretaker in the home on weekdays because she used a wheelchair -and was unable to care for herself. Her caretaker was preparing dinner at the house on Dec. 10 when Litkie dismissed her, saying they were going to make hamburgers.

Besides Litkie, Julia Wilson's 16-year-old son from a prior marriage joined in celebrating Shirley's birthday. Around 9:30 p.m., Litkie drove the teenager home to his father's house and then returned to the Wilson home, where he spent the night.

The next morning, Litkie confronted Julia Wilson, 47, about an e-mail she had received from a childhood sweetheart in California. Police say he flew into a rage when he learned that she was planning a trip to California later this month and suspected she was going to meet the man.

Detectives said he stabbed Julia Wilson 14 times. Detectives said he then poured gasoline in Julia's second-floor bedroom, in the main-floor bedroom where Shirley Wilson slept and in the hallways.

Fire Lt. Rick Aragon reported that his arson-detection dog hit on the right side of Shirley Wilson's body, and the bed where she was located, indicating the scent of accelerants, a search warrant affidavit said.

An autopsy revealed that Shirley Wilson died by fire.

Litkie ran from the house and arrived at his friend's home in the 8200 block of North Hassalo Street around 7:22 a.m. The friend told police that Litkie was out of breath, and claimed he had been "jumped by five guys" at a bar, and that they had stolen his clothing, wallet and Ford Explorer. The friend also noticed what looked like a rug burn on Litkie's side.

When firefighters arrived at the Wilson house, the Ford Explorer that Litkie had been driving was still in the driveway. His wallet was in an upstairs bedroom.

Classic factors

Chiquita Rollins, Multnomah County's domestic-violence coordinator, said the case highlights some of the classic factors leading to domestic violence. "We know when women attempt to end a relationship, it can be the most dangerous time for them," Rollins said. "Obsessive jealousy is one of the danger signals in relationships where homicides occur."

Homicide Detectives Brian Grose and Rich Austria arrested Litkie on Dec. 13, and they said he confessed to the killings after initially denying any involvement. He told detectives and court personnel that he drinks six to 12 beers daily, uses $110 of methamphetamine a week and smokes marijuana.

He acknowledged he had shaved off his beard to change his appearance. He also told police he had changed his appearance because he no longer "liked the old Mark."