Deal With The Devil

Jack Blake

Jack Blake

Jack Owen Blake would be about my age today had Arthur Shawcross not murdered him in 1972. He was ten. Four months Shawcross raped and killed eight-year-old Karen Hill. She’d be 44.

Arthur Shawcross confessed to the murders, but Jefferson County District Attorney William J. McClusky was doubtful about his case and eager for a conviction. So he made an offer: Shawcross would be spared a murder charge and a life term if he’d tell authorities where he had hidden the body of Jack Blake. Shawcross accepted and served 15 years of his 25 year sentence. He was paroled and later went on to kill eleven women in the Rochester area.

Nothing could have saved those two innocent children in 1972, but you’ve got to wonder about DA McClusky. What could have made him think a jury in Watertown, NY wouldn’t want to lock up Shawcross and throw away the key? Instead he got to walk free and murder again.

Shawcross died in an Albany hospital this week, brought there after falling ill at Sullivan Correctional Facility. Unlike his many victims, Arthur Shawcross went the way many of us will go, in a hospital being cared for by people fighting to keep us alive.

There hasn’t been an execution in New York since 1963, but if anyone ever deserved it, it was Arthur Shawcross. And if you think you can explain why a man who murdered thirteen people shouldn’t have been put to death, you’re welcome to try.

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