Love-Hate Mail 

Letters from readers.
Suzanne’s story I was enraged when I read the cover story “Innocent Man?” (May 11). I am absolutely disgusted that anyone would have the audacity to bring Suzanne Collins’ personal life to light. It would not have mattered if she had been a drug-addicted prostitute—she did not deserve to die, especially in such an incomprehensible way. Why did Mr. Hinton not mention that Suzanne Collins was born in Europe, then adopted by loving parents from America, that she had a brother and that she had a bright future that was stolen from her? Why did Hinton not mention that in Sedley Alley’s interviews with police and the FBI he said that, after stabbing Collins with the 31-inch stick, she “bled like a virgin.” For your pleasure, Mr. Hinton, please read John Douglas’ book Journey Into Darkness. I was not able to finish this week’s edition of the Scene because I was so disheartened. I cannot believe Sedley Alley made the cover for committing (he was convicted) such a horrible crime. In my humble opinion, Suzanne Collins should have been on the cover. Shame on the Scene. MARIE FORD (Nashville) Tech support Sedley Alley, convicted of raping and killing Suzanne Marie Collins in 1985, is set to be executed by the state of Tennessee on May 17 (“Innocent Man?,” May 11). Our state has refused to release evidence for DNA testing, which would answer the question of whether Alley is the actual perpetrator of this crime. DNA testing allows light to be shed on the glaring inefficiencies of our criminal justice system, which has, in fact, convicted innocent people and sentenced many to death. With new technology—but only when the judicial system concerns itself with fairness more so than procedure—our country has been able to exonerate 124 death row inmates who were found to be innocent and cleared of all charges. DNA evidence can revolutionize the criminal justice system, even more than fingerprinting did over a century ago. It disheartens me to think that even with DNA evidence available for testing—at no cost to the state—Mr. Alley is being denied his right to have said evidence tested by officials, which would indicate if he was, indeed, the perpetrator of this crime. Doesn’t it make sense to allow testing of this crucial evidence before we execute Mr. Alley, rather than finding out, ex posto facto, that Alley was wrongfully condemned to death? Whether one is for or against the death penalty, who would be for executing a completely innocent person? Perhaps we will find out the answer is Tennessee if this prisoner is executed as scheduled and his innocence is discovered posthumously. I think this matter needs media attention and public awareness: there are innocent people on our nation’s death rows who will die by the hands of their states. Let’s not be one of those states. All material evidence related to Alley’s case should be tested for his DNA. It’s that simple. Or, are we that cruel? GINGER EADES (Murfreesboro) Bunch of Savages in this town In P.J. Tobia’s story “Yellow Light Blues,” (May 11), Joe Savage once again fights for reason and the citizens of Nashville. Chief Serpas’ P.R. flack got it wrong: there’s absolutely no reason to believe that grabbing drivers by the short yellows has prevented any “pedestrian from being struck and killed by someone who blows a red light.” It is not worth the stress on motorists in those 2.8 seconds just to squeeze more money from their pockets. How about a study on the number of rear endings caused by this significant decrease in traffic safety brought on by Nashville’s money-hungry government? FERRAND LEE CUMPTON (Antioch) Bonds scum Is the Bonds fiasco about race (“He Don’t Get No Respect,” May 11)? In my opinion, Barry Bonds’ problem is not his race, but his face: Bonds will not face up to his behavior in pursuit of the Major League Baseball home run record. Unlike Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi, he has not faced up to his foolish crookedness. It isn’t race, but grace: Bonds is not getting the forgiveness offered to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa because Bonds is graceless and self-absorbed. McGwire lied to Congress and then shut up, while Sammy smiled—who can judge the man? No, it is not about race, but about place: Bond believes that his place is not only in the Hall of Fame but on the tip-top rung, no matter the cost. Not race, but waste: Bond’s destiny is no doubt to waste away, à la McGwire. (Did someone say Ken Caminiti?) Race? No, pace: Bonds’ home run pace was lagging behind the behemoths, Mark and Sammy, and he had to do something to save face. Hit 73 homers a year and he could break Aaron’s mark and retire at 45, instead of trying to hang on longer. Maybe it was taste: Barry acquired a taste for the spotlight early—for being the biggest kid on the block. No, it is about waste: the waste of a superior talent in a curmudgeonly package (not unlike Ty Cobb), a cheater who refuses to admit he cheats (reminiscent of Pete Rose), and a man whose lead up to the record will likely become a circus (reminds me of Charlie Finley—at least in the residual smell). No, it isn’t race, but about baseball, whose stupid collusion ensured this outcome. PETER DAVIS (Hendersonville)


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