But the Californian writer reveals his father never killed in a way which sent him to jail.
Instead, he was the one who sent men to their deaths because it was his father’s job to prosecute killers and he was “damn good at what he did.”
Writing in Gawker , Connor says his father was the chief special prosecutor for the Montana Attorney General for 21 years.
“If you killed someone in Montana during those years, he was “not the man you wanted sitting across from you in the courtroom.”
As chief prosecutor Connor’s father was next in line and forced to fill in for the Attorney General whose job it was to pick up the phone and put a man to death once the appeals process was exhausted.
“Sometimes he called and gave the order for inmates to be executed,” he reveals.
It was a call he made twice, but he saw the huge toll it took on his father.
“I remember seeing him walk around the house like a shell of a man for more than a week, his eyes hollowed out and a blank look on his face,” Connor writes.
“Men like my father have tough jobs. Collateral damage exists. With one phone call, Montana’s most powerful trial attorney could be brought to tears because he knew that, though he was simply following the statutory requirements of his job, he had just taken someone’s life.”
Now retired the same father who sent men to their deaths is fighting to have the death penalty abolished because he says it’s barbaric, wastes money and doesn’t act as a deterrent.
Connor’s father insists the argument that the death penalty acts as a deterrent is simply a myth.
He says some people simply never consider the consequences of their actions when committing a crime, no matter how extreme the outcome.
Connor himself worked in criminal defence for three years following university because he wanted to make a difference in the world.
And as various US states rush to find combinations of drugs that can kill inmates humanely, Connor argues that lethal injection is no less inhumane since inmates may not feel being shot, hung or beaten anyway.
Citing the recent botched execution of Oklahoma killer Clayton Lockett, who took 43 minutes to die last month and Dennis McGuire who suffocated after his lethal combination of drugs failed in January, Connor asks is there a kinder way to kill?
“We can just sedate them and put them in front of a firing squad. Or, as long as they’re sedated, why don’t we just beat them to death? Why is poisoning someone a better way to kill than anything else?”.
Connor concludes there is no better way to kill, and says he hopes that one day US society will become better than the monsters who commit the crimes for which they are put to death in the first place.