April 20, 2005

Heart attack on death row

Jimmie Vurel Thomas died last Thursday. I talked about him here once before.

He died in his death row cell at the max unit south of Boise. Several of the defense colleagues I admire worked on his cases. I think that their work exemplified one of the goals we strive towards in the trade: to illuminate the shared humanity of people who've committed the most twisted and unforgiveable acts, in order to say a helpful word on their behalf.

This was an honorable way that one of his attorneys responded to the news:

"Despite the offense he was charged with, and the subsequent conviction, he was a very good client in that he treated myself and my staff with total respect and I am sorry to hear of his passing."

When I wrote the other thing about Jimmie Vurel last fall, I first put down that he was "evil." "No, he wasn't evil," my colleague said. The acts, yes, but to her, not the man, not even after that. It's strange to feel I owe her a note of condolence.