Donald Beaty's Execution Last Night Ends 27-Year Legal Battle

The State of Arizona put murderer Donald Beaty to death last night in Florence, ending a 27-year legal battle that began with the maintenance man's arrest for raping and killing a little Tempe girl.

Predictably, the politicians who bemoaned the interminable wait between Beaty's conviction a quarter-century ago and his execution used the word "closure" in describing the end game.

Even Christy Fornoff's own family, some of whom attended the execution, used that meaningless word to try to describe the indescribable. 

Sadly, there truly can be no such thing as "closure" for anyone close to the child, a sweet-natured Phoenix Gazette paper carrier whose name always will be linked to the words "murder victim."

Christy Fornoff was 13.
Beaty, by the way, made it to the age of 56.

Christy's life ended inside a Tempe apartment complex where she and her mom had gone one terrible evening in 1984 to collect from a few of her customers. Mother and daughter got separated for a few minutes, which was all it took for Beaty--who resided and worked there--to swoop in like the predator he was.

Recently, we retrieved a letter that Beaty wrote to us in the late 1980s, pleading for a fresh examination of his murder case. 

"How can anyone think that I would have done something so bad as that?" he wrote.

We responded, politely declining his offer to write a story "from my point of view, not from the police side." Can't remember what we said, but it was brief.

We did look into his case, and concluded there wasn't much more to write than, yes, he was guilty as sin and his victim was an innocent child.

Donald Beaty was a creepy crawler who should have been locked up nice and tight until he died. 

His death at the hands of the State of Arizona means nothing to us.

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