PopeWatch: Paul Ray King

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On November 25, 1995 Paul Ray King, a 46 year old computer salesman, made the mortal mistake of stopping at a  Sack and Save grocery store in Plano, Texas.  From the parking lot he was abducted by Victor Soldano, a 24 year old illegal alien from Argentina, and Jorge Chavez.  They drove King to a nearby woods, where Soldano murdered King by shooting him five times.  He stole from the corpse of King his watch and fifty bucks.  Soldano and Chavez were arrested and tried.  Chavez was sentenced to life imprisonment and Soldano was sentenced to death.

It is very difficult to find information about King on the net.  PopeWatch was unable to determine whether King was married, whether he had kids, whether he left behind parents to mourn him and what religion, if any, he followed.  Only the cold fact of his murder marks the life of Paul Ray King on the net.  Soldano, conversely, has become famous.  An Argentinian documentary has been made about his case, and Pope Francis has urged commutation after Soldano’s mother appealed to him.  Articles on Soldano are easy to find on the net.  Ray is a forgotten dead man.  I know that King received justice from God, and that is good, because he has received little enough from a system that may never execute the man who casually murdered him almost a quarter century ago.

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9 Comments

  1. Looks as though the death penalty is becoming more of a hot button issue for you, Don. If that is the case, it is as it should be.

  2. Not so much the death penalty per se, as the deep atmosphere of mendacity that surrounds the efforts to abolish it. This is typified by the way murder victims get stuffed down the memory hole by the media and opponents of the death penalty.

  3. Sadly, we have to admit St. John Paul II contributed to this problem. As much as it pains me to say it, his anti-death penalty activism was irresponsible not only in emboldening the media and anti-death penalty activists do what you rightly decry, but it undermined the credibility of Church teaching.

    As to what influenced the late pontiff, who knows? I don’t think it was his experience under communism. That really doesn’t follow when you consider his most pointed opposition was expressed while he was on American soil. He surely understood where you say something matters.

    Feser speculates that his being influenced by phenomenology May have been the cause.

  4. It is very difficult to find information about King on the net. PopeWatch was unable to determine whether King was married, whether he had kids, whether he left behind parents to mourn him and what religion, if any, he followed.

    He was born in Wichita Falls, Tx. on 17 August 1949, the son of Wm Elgin King and Wilma Imogene Cantwell. It appears he married Donna Kay Swartwood on 10 August 1969, in Wichita County, Tx. The marriage was dissolved on 22 October 1976 in Collin County, Tx. It appears he lived in several different abodes around Plano in Collin County during the period running from 198? to 1994. It also appears his mother may have died in 1993 and his father in 1998.

    His parents appear to have married some time between February and July of 1942. His father in February 1942 was employed at a Coca Cola bottling plant around Wichita Falls. His parents lost two children in infancy during the period running from 1942 to 1948, both dying shortly after birth. His parents were from pretty salt-of-the-Earth backgrounds; one of his grandfathers was in middle age a shift foreman in an agro-processing plant; the other was a farmer. Both grandfathers lived in and around Wichita Falls for decades, though I think one migrated there from some other part of Texas. His parents lived and died in Wichita Falls.

    He had an uncle and a pair of aunts who all survived him. The uncle decamped to California some time during the war, but the aunts made their lives around Wichita Falls. One of his aunts was active in a Baptist congregation in Wichita Falls and the daughter of the other aunt was active in a Baptist congregation in Jasper, Mo. It appears he had seven 1st cousins (all on the paternal side). A couple of them have lived in Wichita Falls, a couple in the Dallas commuter belt, one outside of Joplin, Mo., one around Los Angeles, and one in Santa Cruz, Ca. His aunt’s obituary dated 2009 is quite detailed, but listed only descendants as survivors (apparently folding in step-grandchildren and the like), though she had a niece and had had two nephews in addition to the late Philip Ray King. If he had any siblings who survived infancy, haven’t located them.

  5. Phenomenology- big word I had to look up but it nails it. I have a deep admiration for JP2, but his view on capital punishment as well as his overlooking some of the info on homosexuality in the clergy are definitely attributed to his life in wartime Poland and communist Poland. I don’t like that some on the conservative side of things in recent years have attempted to tarnish the pope.

  6. BTW, I wish we had a pope who when he speaks of hope, whether for criminals, or illegal aliens or forest dwelling folks would point to a crucifix.

  7. as well as his overlooking some of the info on homosexuality in the clergy are definitely attributed to his life in wartime Poland and communist Poland.

    There are about 3,000 bishops in this world. The Pope cannot do the work of your local ordinary, any more than the President can repair problems at your local post office. What the Pope can do is put in place a mechanism for vetting episcopal candidates, initiate audits of seminary systems, and institute changes to canon law. I was living in the Diocese of Syracuse during the the 2001-04 scandals. All but three of the 50 priests who had accusations lodged against them were ordained prior to the visitation of the seminaries John Paul ordered in 1981 (and one of those three exceptions was exonerated in court).

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