What crimes has Negan committed?
To evaluate whether Negan deserves death for his actions, it helps to review his worst offenses:
- Murdered Glenn: Negan beat Glenn to death with Lucille as retribution for Rick’s group killing some Saviors. This shocking, traumatic murder caused immense grief and pain for the group who cared about Glenn.
- Forced other groups into servitude: Negan extorted supplies, weapons, and other valuables from Alexandria and the Hilltop by threatening violence if they didn’t comply with his demands. This kept people living in fear.
- Killed Spencer Monroe: When Spencer attempted to get Negan to overthrow Rick as leader in Alexandria, Negan interpreted it as an act of disloyalty and gutted Spencer painfully. This demonstrated Negan’s cruelty.
- Burned lover Dwight’s face: When one of his wives ran away with Dwight, Negan punished this betrayal by ironing Dwight’s face with a hot iron, disfiguring him. This showed Negan’s abuse.
- Killed Abraham, Emmett Carson, and others: In addition to Glenn and Spencer, Negan murdered several other characters like Abraham and Emmett Carson who defied his rules, showing his lack of mercy.
|Details of Murder
|Beaten to death with barbed-wire bat
|Gutted for asking Negan to overthrow Rick
|Shot for trying to help a victim
Based on this history of malice, cruelty, and murder, Negan has demonstrated himself to be a serious threat as well as a source of tremendous pain and misery deserving punishment.
Does Negan get killed?
No. In the comics, despite attempts, Negan manages to avoid getting killed. He certainly comes close to death several times, but ultimately survives.
- Rick slashes Negan’s throat: During a confrontation, Rick slashes Negan’s throat with a knife in an attempt at violent revenge. However, Negan is saved by a doctor who treats him under duress.
- Dwight shoots Negan with infected bolts: While Negan is fighting Rick, Dwight shoots him with bolts coated in Walker’s flesh to give him a slow, painful death by infection. But someone cauterizes the wounds, saving Negan from this gruesome fate.
- Maggie tries orchestrating his murder: Maggie, who has never forgiven Negan for Glenn’s brutal murder, makes multiple secret attempts to have Negan killed in prison for revenge. But Negan catches the wind and thwarts the plot to end his life.
So despite ample motivation and opportunities to take violent revenge and kill Negan, Rick and the other survivors intentionally keep him alive.
Why isn’t Negan executed?
Rather than kill Negan for his horrific crimes, Rick and the community members decide to imprison him for life. They choose this course for a few key reasons:
- They don’t want to stoop to his level of violence. If they executed Negan or killed him in combat, they would essentially be mimicking his style of vengeance and brutality. They want to establish a fairer system of justice moving forward.
- Negan might still be useful to them. Though dangerous, Negan is an intelligent leader who understands strategy, fighting techniques, and managing people. Rick thinks he could consult Negan for advice that could help them.
- Other Saviors might retaliate if Negan died. If Negan died, the many remaining Saviors might band together again under a new leader to take revenge, restarting violence Rick wants to avoid. Keeping Negan alive placates them.
- Maggie still wants the right to kill Negan someday. Maggie, who is still grieving Glenn, never gets this opportunity for revenge in the comics. But she wants Negan imprisoned so she can choose to execute him someday if she wishes to get her desired vengeance.
What is Negan’s life like as a prisoner?
Negan spends around 25 years imprisoned in Alexandria under Rick’s leadership. During this time:
- He lives alone, locked in a small, isolated cell, under 24/7 guard to prevent any chance of escape.
- He’s only allowed out under heavy supervision and restraints, limiting his movement and preventing attacks.
- He serves as a bizarre mentor to Carl and later Rick’s son, Sebastian, giving them advice from his cell.
- He offers Rick strategic military advice during conflicts and attacks by enemies.
- He saves Rick’s life during a walker attack on Alexandria, despite his imprisonment.
- He secretly corresponds with a Savior widow who admires him, one of his only links to the outside world.
So while Negan redeems himself in small ways by helping Rick and Carl, he remains isolated in his cell and never regains his former power and leadership.
Recommeded: Did Scott Pilgrim die in the comics?
Does Negan ever get free?
In the comics’ final arc, after over two decades of solitary confinement, Negan finally escapes from captivity when Sebastian releases him. Sebastian is now the leader of Alexandria. Negan immediately goes to confront Maggie, now the leader of the Commonwealth.
In their tense standoff full of anger and history, Negan demands that Maggie kill him to fulfill the long-held desire for revenge she has sought for decades. But Maggie refuses to give him either a hero’s death in combat or the satisfaction of her retribution. Ultimately, Negan gives up on forcing her hand and disappears into obscurity, his fate unknown to all and never revealed.
So in the end, Negan avoids both execution and redemption. He remains in limbo, an uncomfortable state for someone who has always craved control, leadership, and closure.
The Walking Dead comics resist giving fans or characters the cathartic death of the villain Negan. While imprisoned for decades, he is kept alive by his enemies due to pragmatic and moral concerns over stooping to his violent level. In his final escape, Negan fails to goad his nemesis Maggie into executing him after all this time.
This refusal to offer closure keeps the trauma of Negan’s violence raw and lingering for characters and readers alike. But it also establishes that breaking the cycle of vengeance is necessary to heal in the apocalypse, even if it means allowing a monster like Negan to keep breathing. His uncertain end leaves all still seeking justice unsettled, even decades later.