“Today, at 9:11, a very ill man was executed by the Commonwealth of Virginia,’’ Greenspun said, adding that Muhammad had had a nightmarish, abusive upbringing as a child but somehow fought through it.

Then Muhammad joined the Army. He served in the first Gulf War but returned home an even more troubled man, Greenspun said.

”“Peter,’’ King asked, “ how do you feel now?’’

“Frankly, Larry, I feel awful,’’ Greenspun said.

He said many people would be celebrating the execution of Muhammad, but others should “give that whole process a second thought.’’

He said millions of dollars were spent prosecuting Muhammad “as opposed to putting him in a concrete box for the rest of his life.’’

“It’s an issue that needs to be studied over and over again for a long, long time,’’ he said.

After Tuesday night, the next time Larry King takes up the subject, I know I’ll be watching.

Don Terry is a 2009-2010 Encore Fellow at CJR. He has worked at the Chicago Defender, the Chicago Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the St. Paul Dispatch, and The New York Times, where he was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for the series "How Race is Lived in America."