JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - If more black murderers were put on death row, then maybe that would decrease the killings here in Jacksonville.
That was the startling statement made Thursday by black pastors calling for capital punishment for the city's most violent offenders.
"Maybe if they knew that if you take a life, your life will be taken, just maybe that will stop some of the killing," said Kathy Robinson, whose only son was shot and killed two months ago on the Westside.
Keith Collins Jr., 24, the suspect in 21-year-old Emanual Robinson's killing, is in jail.
Robinson was killed around the same time his mother found out he was expecting a child.
"And his first child was on the way. The young lady is three months pregnant, and I had to put the sonogram in the casket there with my baby," Kathy Robinson said. "Where is the justice in that? Yes, I am in for the death penalty."
Robinson and local pastors are calling for the increased use of capital punishment, especially when it comes to black-on-black crimes.
"The message has to get out -- a strong message that black life does matter, that there is a value attached to it," Pastor Kenneth Adkins said.
He said community interest shouldn't solely surround trials like George Zimmerman's or Michael Dunn's. He said the same passion demonstrators displayed then is necessary every time a person is killed.
"Where is the outrage when it's black-on-black crime? Adkins said. "Where are the marchers, where are folks that are fighting and those that are upset? It should be the same amount of passion from the community standpoint."
Pastor Terrance Calloway said he's eulogized the deaths of nearly a dozen black men and teens over the last four years. He wants to see more mentorship programs offered for black teens and neighborhood programs to offset violent crimes.
"I think the death penalty is sufficient for those who kill heinously," Calloway said. "We still have a problem that needs to be addressed, not just in the religious community, as the entire community."
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