The politicians couldn’t save Megan, of course, but now they have saved the man who brutally ended her life.
The man who raped and killed 7-year-old Megan Kanka — the 1994 crime that inspired “Megan’s Law” — is one of eight men whose sentences were commuted to life in prison this week as part of New Jersey’s new ban on execution.
The Garden State on Monday became the first state in more than three decades to abolish the death penalty after a commission ruled the punishment is “inconsistent with evolving standards of decency.”
Gov. Jon Corzine the day before commuted the sentences of eight men sitting on the state’s death row. They will now serve life in prison without parole, according to the governor’s office.
Among the eight is Jesse Timmendequas, 46, who was sentenced to death in June 1997 for Megan’s murder.
Prosecutors said Timmendequas lured Megan to his home by saying he wanted to show her a puppy. He then raped her, beat her and strangled her with a belt. A day later, he led police to her body.
“Megan’s Law,” introduced after her death, requires that authorities notify neighbors when a sex offender moves into an area. Timmendequas had twice been convicted of sex crimes — on 5- and 7-year-olds — before he murdered Megan.
A Quinnipiac poll shows 53 percent of New Jerseyans surveyed oppose ending the death penalty and 39 percent support eliminating it.
Since when did public opinion matter?