Austin Myers: Youngest inmate on death row

By: Alex Tobalin – Freshman

Ohio news has recently been focusing strongly on the sentencing Austin Myers received Thursday, Oct. 16th. Myers, accused of murdering Justin Back with the help of Timothy Mosley, received the death penalty at the age of 19.

This makes him the youngest inmate on death row in Ohio. While some may argue that the death penalty is too extreme for a man Myers’ age, I strongly believe that this punishment is perfectly suitable.

Not only did the two boys originally attempt to strangle Back, who was set to enter the Navy the following week, but they also shot him, and Mosley stabbed him 21 times while Myers stood there ignoring Back’s cries for help.

While Mosley should have received the death penalty as well, he was given life in prison due to an agreement he made to testify against Myers.

There are many aspects that go along with the death penalty that make this punishment justifiable for Myers’ crime. For starters, it has been reported that those on death row wait, on average, for over a decade to actually be executed. So why not give him life without parole, one may ask? This is due to the fact that those sentenced to life receive more privileges than those who are to be executed.

According to the Department of Corrections, inmates given a life sentence stay in cells with another inmate, are allowed up to seven hours per day to be outside with other inmates, eat with other prisoners, are given more freedom in work assignment choices and receive more visiting time and phone privileges.

Death row inmates, on the other hand, spend up to 23 hours a day isolated in their cell.

Their recreation hours are drastically cut back, and they are required to be accompanied by at least one officer when they are outside of their cell.

These prison conditions are why I support the death penalty, even when imposed on a 19 year-old. Myers is obviously a cold-hearted killer if he is able to ruthlessly murder an innocent teen and then stand by watching him plead to live. He most certainly deserves to have privileges taken from him after he took a human life.

When given the chance to make a statement before his sentencing in court, Austin simply said he made a mistake and mentioned the potential good he could accomplish if he was allowed to live. However, the judge commented on the lack of sympathy and emotion in his words. After all, there is certainly no good he would ever be able to cause after murdering someone.

Back’s family will never get the chance to see him succeed in the Navy, marry, have a family or ever again witness the happiness he brought to their lives.

Memories of Back will certainly remain alive in the minds of those who loved and were inspired by him, but they aren’t the same as having him truly present. Holidays, birthdays and weddings are going to be spent missing a family member, and years from now the Back family will still be thinking about the loss of their son, grandson and nephew.

One can only hope that in all the hours of solitude Myers will be forced to endure, he will be haunted by the memories of the horrible act he committed up until the day he receives his deserved lethal injection.