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Are Capital Punishment's Emotional Costs Worth It?

The capital murder trial of Christopher Evans still haunts some participants months after the fact.



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Cheerful shouts and laughter filtered in from outside Castro's classroom, signaling the end of the school year and months of summer camps and family vacations to come.

"One of the things that came out over and over in the trial was I'm living in a different world than they were living in," Castro said of Evans, his victims, and many of the testifying witnesses. "I know we're only thirty miles apart, but it's a different world."

Castro looked around his empty classroom. "What have these kids done to deserve to have been born in Pleasanton instead of those parts of Oakland?" he asked. "Sometimes that's just good luck."

Asked if sitting on the jury of such a long and high-stakes trial had changed his opinion on capital punishment, Castro paused for several moments. "I can see now how just reading a short news clip could make me think, 'Get rid of him; that's human trash and there's no reason to keep him around,'" he said finally.

Castro continued, though, that sitting through the entire trial and learning the back-stories and extenuating circumstances involved had broadened his perspective. "I think it has made me more hesitant," he said, before stammering as he tried to think of what to say next. "The whole thing's a tragedy, but I don't know that it's worth adding another life to the tragedy."

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