Rod Dreher has a post apologizing for his delight in the prompt death of the wicked.
I have been watching a DVD of the interrogation of Rev. Ryan Erickson, who murdered two men in cold blood to cover up his sexual abuse. The detectives cornered him in lies, and he knew the game was up. Shortly after that, at the end of 2004 he committed suicide rather than face humiliation, jail, and what happens to young homosexuals in jail.
I felt some pity for the SOB. Our response when we see a person or even an animal cornered and about to be killed is often pity, even if we know the death is necessary.
This basically good human response creates problems at murder trials. The jury and the public see the accused badgered and hunted; they tend to forget the absent murder victim.
Earthly justice is necessary and even desired by God – who has given the civil power the sword for a reason. But somehow we hope, after all the demands of justice are satisfied, that the last word will be spoken by mercy.