Saturday, November 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Don't forget the real victims (Hint: The man in the photo is not one)

Debra Dietz. Eugene Dietz. A daughter and her father. You've probably never heard of them. They're not exactly household names.

Don't forget the real victims (Hint: The man in the photo is not one)

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections shows inmate Joseph Rudolph Wood. Wood took nearly two hours to die and gasped for about 90 minutes during his execution in Arizona on Wednesday, July 23, 2014.  (AP Photo/Arizona Department of Corrections, File)
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections shows inmate Joseph Rudolph Wood. Wood took nearly two hours to die and gasped for about 90 minutes during his execution in Arizona on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Arizona Department of Corrections, File)

Debra Dietz.

Eugene Dietz.

A daughter and her father.

You've probably never heard of them. They’re not exactly household names.

And it’s very possible after reading about them that you will forget their names. That’s fine. But please don’t forget their stories.

If their stories are forgotten, it’ll be a sin.

On Monday, August 7, 1989 – almost 25 years ago – they were murdered in cold blood. Debra’s estranged boyfriend fatally shot Eugene once in the chest and then smiled. The estranged boyfriend then grabbed Debra from behind and placed his gun directly against her chest.  He was heard saying, "I told you I was going to do it, I have to kill you." He then called Debra a "bitch" and fatally shot her twice in the chest.

This double murder was the culmination of a tumultuous 5 year relationship in which the murderer was constantly abusive and violent toward Debra – even with a protective order against him. The specific details are gruesome.

You’ve probably noticed I haven’t mentioned the murderer’s name. That’s on purpose. I won’t. Unfortunately, the media has given him name recognition even aspiring politicians would clamor for.

They have made him the victim.

They have made his so-called botched execution the focus of national media attention.

They have made his hour and a half “gasping and snorting” ordeal trump the 25 years of deathly silence since the brutal murders he committed. One reporter was so infatuated with the process that he even took inventory and counted 660 gasps before the killer expired.

Six hundred and sixty gasps?

Is that what this country has come to – ingrained more in the specifics of an evil killer’s last breaths than in the barbaric way he lived his life?

Please don’t forget who the victims were. Don’t let their names or accounts be made in passing. And if you want to talk about torture, please direct your outrage to the Dietzes, who have been dead for 25 years.

John Featherman
About this blog
John Featherman is a contributor at Philly.com and writes about politics and consumer-related issues. Reach John at john@featherman.com.

John Featherman