A Fort Worth man, Rodolfo Arellano, pleaded guilty Wednesday to abducting his estranged wife, tying a 119-pound chunk of concrete on her and tossing her off the Lake Worth bridge to drown. The state was seeking the death penalty. However, Arellano’s lawyers offered a plea to capital murder in exchange for a prison term of life without the possibility of parole. The defense offer was accepted, and Rodolfo was sentenced accordingly. Arellano is 36. The victim is Elizabeth Pule Arellano. The two had four children together. Elizabeth’s family seem to support the plea.
Elizabeth was a medical assistant. An abandoned car was found around April 14th along with her purse, and cell phone—the keys were in the ignition. A fisherman called the policed when he saw what appeared to be a person plummeting from the Loop 820 bridge in Fort Worth. She was still wearing her scrubs and had a 119-pound block of concrete attached to a fence post tied around her neck with a rope.
OUR FREE OPINION
Although this is an egregious case, we salute the prosecutors for agreeing not to discontinue their bid for the death penalty in this case. Apart from being against the death penalty under all circumstances, we also note how expensive death penalty cases are. In some states cases without the death penalty, the cost is $740,000, while cases, where the death penalty is sought, cost $1.26 million. Maintaining each death row prisoner costs taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population. The average time a defendant spends on death row is approximately 15 years. Research has shown that the average cost of a capital trial cost almost 50 percent more than both trials with life without parole and life with the possibility of parole. The roughly twelve steps a death row inmate can take on appeal is extremely time-consuming and expensive.
To make matters worse, there is a scant indication that the death penalty deters crime. John J. Donohue III, JD, Ph.D., Professor of Law at Stanford University, stated the following in his Aug. 8, 2015 article “There’s No Evidence That The Death Penalty Is a Deterrent against Crime,” available at theconversation.com: