A petition to the White House calls for the public hanging of a man who allegedly raped and killed his girlfriend’s 10-month-old daughter.
Benjamin Taylor, 32, of Cottageville, West Virginia, was charged with first-degree murder on Wednesday after the baby, Emmaleigh Barringer, died from injuries that indicated a violent sexual assault. According to CBS, Taylor told authorities he “blacked out” while caring for the baby and doesn’t know how the injuries occurred.
Shortly after the arrest, a petition on We the People began circulating, asking for the public hanging of Taylor. “Prison is too good for child rapists and their ilk,” it reads. “When it’s an open and shut case such as this, let us hang these creatures publicly. Let us make examples of them, and allow the American people to attend these hangings so that the accused may be ridiculed, as they should be.”
As with all petitions to the White House, if it reaches 100,000 signatures in 30 days, President Obama will have to respond. So far it has over 40,000.
The death penalty was abolished in West Virginia over 50 years ago; a public hanging hasn’t happened in the state since 1897.
Emmaleigh’s mother, Amanda Leigh Adkins, found her daughter naked in blood on the basement floor early Monday morning. The 10-month-old was rushed to the hospital but was later declared brain dead. “It wasn’t enough that he took her innocence, he had to take her life too,” Adkins told local station WSAZ.
A public vigil will be held for Emmaleigh in Maryland tonight.