Marc Klaas, the father of murder victim Polly Klaas, argued on “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday that California Gov. Gavin Newsom is giving criminals the “reprieve that they never gave their victims” with his soft-on-crime policies.
In 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that put a moratorium on the executions of the 737 inmates incarcerated in the Western Hemisphere’s largest death row.
While the order is largely symbolic – California has not executed an inmate since 2006 amid legal challenges – it still marked a major victory for opponents of capital punishment given the state’s size and its national political influence.
Now, Klaas is speaking out against the governor’s moratorium, as Richard Allen Davis, who was convicted of kidnapping and murdering Klass’ 12-year-old daughter Polly nearly three decades ago, remains on death row.
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Polly Klaas was abducted on the evening of Oct.1, 1993. She and two friends were having a slumber party inside her home in Petaluma, a small town outside of San Francisco, when a mentally unstable, career criminal crept into Polly’s bedroom and abducted her.
For more than a month the Klaas family and the FBI searched for Polly, and finally there was a breakthrough. A property owner in a remote part of Sonoma Country, California called the police to report finding children’s clothing and a man’s sweatshirt on her land.
Shortly thereafter Davis was identified in Polly’s kidnapping and confessed to her murder after facing a mountain of evidence. He led investigators to where he left her body.
“This is something that I live with every day,” Klaas told Fox News’ Lawrence Jones. “This guy and the other 735 characters on death row are there for a very specific reason, because they’re among the worst killers that exist in our society,” he stressed.
Klaas pointed out that in California the death row inmates have killed hundreds of children and dozens of police officers.
“These are mass shooters, spree killers, cop killers, serial killers – they’re psychopaths and sadists who rape, torture and murder their victims, even little girls,” Klaas told Jones.
He then slammed Gov. Newsom’s moratorium on death row inmates saying, “it throws shade on anybody that’s invested in this, anybody that has a child or a relative that was murdered by one of these key people.”
“He’s giving them the reprieve that they never gave their victims,” Klaas continued.
A spokesperson for Newsom did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
In 2019, Newsom defended his right as governor to put the moratorium on the death penalty – citing statistics that there are a number of people on death row who are actually innocent of the crimes for which they’ve been convicted. A 2014 study by the National Academy of Sciences determined that one in every 25 inmates on death row in the United States was sentenced to die for crimes they did not commit.
“I believe I’m doing the right thing,” Newsom said at the time. “I cannot sign off on executing hundreds and hundreds of human beings knowing that among them there will be innocent people.”
When Newsom signed the executive order instating the moratorium on death penalty executions, he said, “We cannot advance the death penalty in an effort to soften the blow of what happens to these victims.”
“If someone kills, we do not kill. We’re better than that,” the governor continued.
The embattled Democratic governor is fighting to keep his job with a little more than one week to go until the deadline for California voters to hand in their ballots in the state’s gubernatorial recall election.
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The recall push, launched in June of last year, was fueled by the state’s COVID restrictions on businesses and houses of worship, school shutdowns and even opposition to the state’s high taxes.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser, Matt London and Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.