- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The death of a Nebraska inmate who was formerly on death row has uprooted memories of his unusual case in which some of those who suffered the most from his act of brutality also stood the strongest against his execution.

Sixty-year-old Randolph Reeves died late Wednesday at the Nebraska State Penitentiary after spending more than half of his life in prison. Spokesman Andrew Nystrom said Reeves is believed to have died of natural causes.

Reeves was sentenced to death in 1981 for the murders of 30-year-old Janet Mesner and 28-year-old Victoria Lamm in Lincoln the previous year.

Kenneth and Mildred Mesner of Central City pleaded for the life of their daughter’s killer. Lamm’s husband, Gus, and daughter, Audrey, later joined the campaign to remove Reeves from death row. He was resentenced to life in prison without parole in 2001.

“If she (Janet) were alive, I think she would have applauded the decision,” said Kurt Mesner, her brother, when prosecutors chose not to seek the death penalty again. “It’s what should have been done from the start.”

Gus Lamm said at the time that he agreed with that sentiment. But other member of the Lamm family didn’t feel the same way.

“I hope you never have to go the morgue and see your sister bled to death,” said Greg Zessin, Victoria Lamm’s brother, in 2001. “The system doesn’t care about the rights of victims’ families.”

None of the families could be reached by the newspaper Thursday.

“I just hate it whenever I see that anybody has died in prison,” said Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, who led a successful effort in the Legislature to abolish the death penalty last year. “I don’t think prison is a place where people ought to die. That’s not what prison is for.”

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