LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - While people around the world focus on the upcoming executions in Arkansas, some people are watching even more closely. One Arkansas woman is paying attention, to see she could find any additional comfort for her own loss.
“It’s hard to,” Bethany Ault-Pyle began, “I’m happy for the families, the fact that they’re getting what they feel like that needs to be done.”
Ault-Pyle did not get what she felt was necessary after the murder of her daughter, Briana Ault, in 2010. Jonathan Thacker pleaded guilty to kidnapping and first degree murder charges, and his brother, Elvis Thacker, was convicted last year of kidnapping and capital murder.
At first, Ault-Pyle did not want them to get the death penalty.
“When [prosecutors] first came and talked to me the very first time about Briana’s murder, I told them that I didn’t feel like, that as a Christian, I should do the death penalty,” she recalled. “It took a lot of thinking, but over time, of all the process, all the hearings I sat through—I was at every hearing we ever had—and the more I watched the guys, the more there was absolutely no remorse. It was like it was a joke to them.”
Ultimately, one juror voted against the death penalty. Both brothers received sentences of life in prison. The decision disappointed Ault-Pyle.
“I’m a person of ‘eye for an eye,’” she stated during a phone conversation Tuesday afternoon. “And I feel like that just putting the brothers in prison for the rest of their life is not an eye for an eye.”
She said she has watched a little bit of the news coverage of the planned executions of seven death row inmates, but plans to watch even more if the executions begin on Monday. She has heard the criticism of the process – the rushed timeline, the ineffective drug – but does not think those issues should bring it to a halt.
“People saying it’s inhumane. What these guys did to my daughter was inhumane,” Ault-Pyle stated. “What these guys did to these other, the people that they murdered, was inhumane.”
Ault-Pyle wants to see if the victims’ families speak after Don Davis and Bruce Ward are executed Monday night.
“I’ll be interested to see what the families think and feel,” she said. “I hope that they’re interviewed. I hope that the families get a chance to, at least, express if they do have justice.
“I just hope that this brings peace and comfort to the families. I really do. I think that, I know I would feel like it would, for me, if I could get that sort of justice for Briana.”