Family of victim to witness execution
BLACKFOOT — As they talked about Friday's scheduled execution of their son's killer on Wednesday, Junior and Julie Haddon often became emotional.
Paul Ezra Rhoades murdered 20-year-old Nolan Haddon at an Idaho Falls convenience store on March 16, 1987. If the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals doesn't intervene, as Rhoades' attorneys have asked it to do, he will be executed at 8 a.m. on Friday.
"No, it don't," Junior Haddon said of Rhoades' death bringing closure. "It don't close anything. It just finalizes it."
Julie Haddon added, "in one sense it does because we won't hear about Paul Ezra Rhoades again."
Rhoades was convicted of the kidnappings and murders of Stacy Baldwin of Blackfoot and of Susan Michelbacher of Idaho Falls. He was sentenced to death for those crimes. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the murder of Haddon.
The Haddons will be at the Idaho State Penitentiary in Boise on Friday to witness Rhoades' execution.
"I don't know exactly what we're getting into by going over to Boise," Junior said. "But it's something I've got to attend — for Nolan."
Julie added, "I wasn't going to go but I changed my mind. I am compelled to go."
"The guy is deserving of it," Junior said. "The law says he has to die."
Julie expressed displeasure at yet another appeal in an attempt to get a stay of execution. "Well, he's whining about the injection being cruel. Well, did he give any of those three people a choice or give them 10 minutes, let alone 25 years?"
Rhoades will receive a three-drug injection with one drug putting him to sleep, the second stopping his breathing and the third stopping his heart. His attorneys have argued that there exists the potential for Rhoades to suffer undue suffering because the state's executioners haven't had sufficient training to administer the drugs properly.
Haddon's parents remembered Nolan fondly as they talked of their trip to Boise.
"We've missed him a lot," Junior said, his voice often cracking. He broke into tears as he recalled an elk hunting trip in which Nolan bragged of bagging "the biggest ground chicken (sage grouse) ever."
Nolan was an easy-going young man who was attending school at what is now Eastern Idaho Technical College with an eye toward a career in radiation safety.
"He was very friendly; he liked the outdoors and he loved snowmobiling," Julie recalled. "He got along with people."
"He never met a stranger," Junior added.
"All three of these people were productive citizens," Junior said of the murder victims.
"Well, we want to see it over," Junior said. "I don't know whether I'll be glad or what. I don't think I'll feel any sadness (for Rhoades).
"When it's over with, I'd like to stand up and say 'Hurrah!' but I don't know if I'll be allowed to," Junior said. "I feel for Michelbacher and Stacy Baldwin's mothers, too. It's hard to put into words. It's almost impossible.
"When it comes and goes, maybe we can continue on with life, with what we've got left," he concluded.