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Amanda Taylor

Erica Yvonne Sheppard - Texas

Erica's case is tricky. Not in the sense of what she did and where she is but in how long she has to stay. Erica was involved in a hideous, horrible crime and she confessed her part in it. In the late 90's she and a male accomplice witnessed a woman, Marilyn Meagher, carrying armloads of clothing from her car to her apartment. Deciding they would rob her and take her car, the couple accosted Ms. Meagher in her appartment.

Marilyn Meagher had her throat slashed several times, she was beaten and eventually a plastic bag was placed around her head and she was left to suffocate. The deadly couple abandoned the car in a nearby town but were caught shortly later.Erica received the death penalty and remains there today. This is where I have a problem.

Erica was 19 years old when she committed her crimes. She was with a domineering man and this case happens in a thousand different ways a thousand times a day. The most famous may be the story of the porn star John Holmes and the young girl he fell in love with. Dawn Schiller lived a devastating life as the girlfriend of the world's most known porn star at only 15 years old. She calls girls like herself and Erica- Throw Away Girls, because if they had the support they needed they wouldn't be in the situations they were.

Erica grew tired of life on death row and asked to be executed. The reverend Jesse Jackson went to visit her and convinced her that her life was precious and to carry on the fight. Since then she has went on to fight against bad prison conditions and inhumane treatment of women prisoners.
Shes volunteered for many programs and improved her education. In short, she has used her years in prison wisely.

How long does a 19 year old girl have to pay for a crime she did not commit single handedly but with an influential violent male? More violent criminals have been paroled in shorter times while Erica wastes the education and advancements shes worked toward year after year.
Looking at this from a fiscal point of view, wouldn't it be smarter to let her parole and work in the public domain, contributing to society?

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