State should ban death row art sales

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It&8217;s sickening that Alabama has failed to crack down in Death Row inmates selling their artwork on &8220;murderabilia&8221; Web sites.

The Alabama artwork, which often consists of sexually-oriented sketches, has been in high demand lately, according to victims&8217; rights advocate Andy Kahan. One inmate in particular, Daniel Siebert, who has confessed to as many as 13 murders and was convicted of killing five people in Alabama, is a prolific figure in the Internet sales.

Why people would want to own anything from this creep is a mystery.

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He killed Sherri Weathers, a hearing-impaired student at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, in Talladega, along with her two small sons, 5-year-old Chad and 4-year-old Joseph. Siebert was also convicted of capital murder in the death of Linda Jarman, a neighbor of Weathers.

When he was taken into custody, Siebert confessed to murders all over the country.

He killed for purposes of sex and robbery.

He shouldn&8217;t be allowed to profit from those murders. But outgoing mail from state prisons typically is not inspected. Inmates send letters, sketches and drawings to friends, who put them up for sale on the Internet.

Kahan has helped other states pass restrictive legislation that led to a dramatic decrease in such sales. Alabama&8217;s Legislature was poised this year to make it harder for anyone to profit from the sale of inmate memorabilia but Sen. Phil Poole, D-Tuscaloosa, killed it on the last day of the sesson.

Poole was retaliating for an unrelated bill that did not include money for roadwork in his district.

We trust calmer heads will prevail next year, when Rep. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, will try again to pass the bill.