Captain Doug Hunter sat down with newsnet5.com to explain a controversial post that appears to support the electric chair for suspects like the one in Monday’s killing of a Danville police officer.
Investigators said Herschel Ray Jones, 32, shot and killed Danville Officer Thomas Cottrell, whose body was later found near the city’s municipal building.
According to court documents, Jones was on parole for a 2014 burglary charge and had recently been arrested for felonious assault, rape, domestic violence and stalking.
Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville told newsnet5.com that victim connected to the most recent charges recanted her story.
“There was not enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to move forward with charges,” McConville said over the phone.
But Hunter told newsnet5.com that Jones’ record was the reason for his post.
The post includes a photo of an electric chair with the words "Time to bring back consequences" printed on it.
“When these decisions are made to release felony offenders we are putting them back out into the public,” Hunter said. “In this case it resulted in a deadly result.”
By Tuesday afternoon the post received more than 6,000 likes and more than 4,000 shares on Facebook.
But Hunter said several people called the Sheriff’s office and demanded that the post be taken down.
Several people also posted on the comment, saying, “You should be ashamed of yourself” and the post “sends the wrong message.”
But Hunter told newsnet5.com that he’s not sorry for the post.
“I make no apologies for my position on the matter that criminals need to be held accountable for their actions,” Hunter said.
newnet5.com reached out to the Witness to Innocence Organization about the post.
“We all have the same desire to live in a safe community,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “The death penalty does not help up achieve that. Ohio currently has the death penalty, but it didn't deter this killing.”
But Hunter told newsnet5.com that the point of the post was not to debate the death penalty and that it may have implied more than he meant it to.
“I was not trying to say ‘let’s bring back the electric chair over lethal injection or a noose or any of those,’” Hunter said.
He explained that he’s not necessarily in favor of the death penalty over life in prison, but increased penalties in general.
“Many felony offenders are getting probation or very light sentences,” he continued. “I feel that increasing the consequences for this type of behavior could deter some of them.”
Hunter said the post will remain online and he has received support from many members of the police force.
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