Did our elected officials support transferring the Green River Killer to a Colorado prison?

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Washington state and the nation learned last week that Gary L. Ridgway — the Green River killer — was transferred from a maximum-security facility at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla to a federal prison in Colorado.

Ridgway’s name is synonymous today with murder and evil. He is the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history. He horrifically took the lives of 49 young women. He forever altered the lives of their families, burning a hole in their hearts, leaving an emptiness that will never be filled. There will never be closure. Their loved one is forever lost.

These murders haunted the task force detectives, patrol officers, scientists, and hundreds of volunteers who gave nearly two decades of their lives working to bring him to justice. For 20 years, the residents of Washington state were terrorized until Ridgway was captured.

So, knowing these facts, why was Ridgway transferred to a federal prison in Colorado? The justification, as reported by The Seattle Times, is that he has been a model inmate while in maximum security. Those involved in the transfer decision have decided that because he was such a model inmate and obeyed the rules he should be evaluated so that he can be placed into the general prison population. This would give him more privileges, such as socializing with the general population and obtaining a prison job.

This is a travesty. Ridgway was already given the opportunity to socialize with the general population and he chose a path of evil. With his first murder, he threw away any right to privileges. He didn’t stop at one murder — he confessed to 49 and bragged about killing as many as 30 more. Until he admits to and provides details on these murders, a “supermax” facility should be the only option.

The only reason Ridgway is still alive today was so that families could get answers to the questions, “Who killed my love one?,” “Where is my daughter?” and so other murders could be solved.

Moving Ridgway to Colorado makes it very difficult for detectives to get access to Ridgway in their attempts to solve additional crimes. In Colorado, Ridgway’s only option should be supermax prison — where criminals including the Unabomber and the “millennium bomber” are being kept. Ridgway should not be placed in the general population when he killed far more people than both the Unabomber and millennium bomber combined. Although Ridgway appears unassuming, we know how dangerous he can be.

No one should forget that as a young man, Ridgway lured a 5-year-old boy into the woods and stuck a knife through the child’s liver. As the boy lay there bleeding, he asked young Ridgway why he stabbed him, to which Ridgway said (as he wiped the knife off on the child’s shirt), “Because I wanted to see how it felt to kill someone.”

This is a chilling example of injustice for the families who lost their loved ones at the evil, heartless and monstrous hands of Ridgway. It’s a slap in the face to all of the dedicated women and men who spent 19 years tracking him down and protecting not only Washington state, but our nation.

All those who watched Ridgway plead guilty to these murders saw no remorse in his voice or face. The only remorse he had was for being caught. The public deserves to know who made this decision, why this decision was made and who supported this action. Do our elected officials support this transfer? Does anyone believe this is respectful to the families or justice for the victims?

The secrecy surrounding this transfer is highly troubling and the justification equally questionable. Ridgway’s victims were never given a chance at a better life, so why should he?