A terrible story that needed to be told

November 4, 2013 

Many readers are furious with us for putting the smiling face of murderer Daquan Barnes in the paper on Saturday.

Fred Busch's letter to the editor on today's page was one of the milder complaints we received: "I'm sure there were other photos that could have been used that would have served the same purpose. ... Whoever authorized these photos is stupid."

There is no doubt that the photos of Barnes, taken on the day he was sentenced to 60 years in prison, are chilling and horrific -- and that's exactly why we chose to print them. Our job is to be your eyes and ears at news events and to publish photographs that convey the essence of a story.

People would want to see if Barnes had hung his head in shame, shed tears of remorse for his victim or showed regret for his actions. Instead he smiled for the cameras and demonstrated that he has no more regard for human life now than he did the night he locked 85-year-old Yoko Cullen in her car trunk and burned her alive. Truly this was the face of evil.

No other photos would have served the same purpose.

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