MARYSVILLE (CBS13) – Death row executions could resume in California in a matter of months, giving relief to a mother who’s been waiting decades for her son’s killer to be executed.
“I know that the last few moments of his life were horrific,” said Sandy Friend.
It’s been more than two decades since Friend’s 8-year-old son was kidnapped while walking home from school.
Michael Lyons’ tortured body was found a day later in the Feather River just up the street from his Marysville home.
“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare knowing that your child suffered and was tortured for 10 hours from the first inflicted wound to the last,” Friend said.
That was 21 years ago. She was sure Robert Boyd Rhoades would be executed by now. Instead, he’s still alive.
“Michael deserves justice.” She said.
The California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 66, the voter-approved measure to speed up executions in California.
What may have taken decades will now take 10 years.
“We can bring things down from 25 down to 10,” said Kent Scheidegger, Legal Director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.
But the opposition is ready to appeal.
“It is immoral. The state should not be killing people,” said Senator Scott Weiner, (D-San Francisco).
Weiner said executions may soon resume, but so will the fight to get rid of capital punishment.
“I think we will eventually repeal the death penalty. we came very close last year, and we have to keep trying,” he said.
Meanwhile, Friend holds on to hope that never happens. She said parents living this nightmare deserve closure and hopes someday there will be justice for victims like Michael.
Right now there are 750 inmates on death row in California. Twenty inmates may have exhausted their appeals and could face the death penalty within the next year, but the majority will stay put, including Michael’s killer.
In the meantime, the focus for pro death penalty groups is on the method of execution. There’s currently a fight over a humane lethal injection. Until then, executions will remain stalled.