I've seen a number of bloggers and MSM journos make the point that Van Nguyen is after all a convicted drug trafficker, and that the anti-capital punishment people are distorting the situation by trying to portray him as an innocent victim and sacrificial hero.
As so often, there are more than two possible points of view here. One of the best books ever written about a murder trial in this country is Ken Inglis's The Stuart Case, about the trial and conviction of the Aboriginal labourer Rupert Max Stuart for rape and murder in rural SA in the late 1950s. After the movie about the case, Black and White, was released a couple of years ago, a new edition came out with an 80-page update by Inglis. Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of race relations, Adelaide, or Australian law.
Inglis takes pains to point out that most of the people who campaigned (successfully, eventually) to save Stuart from being hanged thought that he was probably guilty. They were campaigning against the death penalty, not trying to prove Stuart's innocence. The case was further complicated by the fact that Stuart had been mistreated and evidence contaminated from the moment he was arrested. Two of the people actively involved in the campaign to save his life were the young Don Dunstan and the young Rupert Murdoch. Go figure.
Neither Van Nguyen nor Stuart is anything like as clear-cut a candidate as the subject of the last legal execution that I remember thinking about: US rapist and serial killer Ted Bundy was put to death in the late 1980s. Now THERE was a case to make a good soft-left pro-choice feminist wimp sit down with the Scotch bottle and spend a hard couple of hours keeping vigil and trying to work out what she really thought.
And I did.