Dead Reckoning

Donta Page's sentence revives Colorado's death-penalty debate -- but brings no closure. The Conclusion of "Penalty Zone."

She asked them to think about the one person in the world they cared most about, and how they would feel if what happened to Peyton happened to that person. Or how that person would feel if the young men ended up like Donta Page. She told them about her journal, in which she writes to Peyton every day. When she was finished talking, she went to each of them and shook his hand.

Pat left the room wondering if they'd really heard her. And then the young men walked out for a break. One by one, each raised a hand and waved. "Be careful," they said. "Thank you."

That night, Pat told Peyton about the young men. Maybe she'd accomplished something, she wrote. Even if she reached just one person and spared just one family the grief Peyton's family had endured, then it was worth the fear and heartache.

 
Michael Hogue
 
Pat Tuthill carried this picture of her daughter Peyton to the trial and death-penalty hearing of Peyton's murderer, Donta Page.
Pat Tuthill carried this picture of her daughter Peyton to the trial and death-penalty hearing of Peyton's murderer, Donta Page.

Details

Read all the stories in this series at our Penalty Zone website.

Ending the entry, she signed that night's message as she always did, keeping the promise she'd made 26 years before: "I love you...forever and ever."

Read all the stories in this series at our Penalty Zone website.

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