OAN’s Brooke Mallory
2:24 PM – Sunday, October 8, 2023
The father of Polly Klaas, a young girl who vanished from a sleepover in 1993 and later became known as the “first missing girl on the internet,” recently called California Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom “a pig” for abolishing the death penalty in his state in 2019.
When Polly, who was 12-years-old at the time, was abducted from a sleepover at knifepoint and later strangled and killed, Richard Allen Davis, who is currently incarcerated in San Quentin State Prison, was found guilty and given the death penalty.
The abduction took place in Petaluma, California.
“Newsom is a pig,” said Marc Klaas, who runs a nonprofit for parents and victims of crimes against children. “In 2019, he declared a death penalty moratorium in California. He told me, among other things, that he didn’t want to be the governor who executes an innocent person.”
No one in California will be put to death through the justice system while Newsom is governor, thanks to his moratorium on executions.
The decree, according to Klaas, shows “advocacy for the worst and most dangerous people in our society.”
737 criminals were reportedly on California’s death row when Newsom declared the moratorium in March 2019.
“The intentional killing of another person is wrong and, as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual,” Newsom said in a statement. “Our death penalty system has been, by all measures, a failure.
“It has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown or can’t afford expensive legal representation. It has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent. It has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. Most of all, the death penalty is absolute. It’s irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error,” he continued.
In 1993, when computers were just starting to gain popularity, Polly Klaas’ disappearance garnered national attention in newspapers and on television. It also gained notoriety as the first prominent missing persons case to be discussed online.
The emergence of the internet and social media, according to Marc Klaas, “changed the way that the public and law enforcement approach missing kids.”
“For example, when we distributed Polly’s missing flyer, we acquired a mailing list, spent $15,000 on stamps, printed thousands of flyers, put them in envelopes and took them to the post office,” the victim’s father said. “The flyers began arriving about a week after we started the process. Now, you can create a missing child [Facebook] page, fill it with pictures and videos, link articles, television reports, testimonials and law enforcement contact information. This process costs nothing and can be regularly updated.”
As an illustration of how the internet may be helpful in disseminating information about a missing child’s case, Klaas cited Gabby Petito’s disappearance in 2021.
He also highlighted the discovery of 9-year-old Charlotte Sena, who was recently abducted on a camping trip in upstate New York, before she was discovered safe.
It “was a great combination of law enforcement response and a little bit of luck,” Klaas said.
“Because of law enforcement’s quick and professional response, they were quickly able to identify and arrest the suspect through fingerprint technology,” Klaas continued. “The public also immediately picked up on this case as it spread like wildfire through traditional and social media.
“I believe, based on nothing more than my experience, that this was probably a crime of opportunity in that he was laying in wait but did not have a specific target. It also looks like this was probably a kidnapping for ransom, which is rare with these kinds of crimes.”
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