Our readers reacted quickly to the death of former Enron Corp. executive Ken Lay, 64, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud in one of the biggest business scandals in U.S. history.
There was one overwhelming emotion dominating the message board: Anger. People were upset he got the "easy way" out and avoided a prison term.
Most readers cried conspiracy and wanted DNA tests confirming the cause of death, while others wanted to leave the final judgment in God’s hand.
Here is a sampling from our online message board. (Readers' usernames are used after their post.)
Conspiracy. This guy has all this money, gets caught, gets charged, then has a heart attack. “And just like that. *poof* He was gone.” If I was in his shoes I'd find a way to be "dead" too. — Kungjew
Ken Lay is not dead. He more than likely bought off the Coroner's office and Sheriff's Department in Colorado and is now living it up in South America. — CIA
It's not up to me to judge him, but I am sure there are plenty who will try. I only hope he had made peace in his own life for the pain he inflicted on others. — No Enron Shareholder
I feel sorry for the Lay family, having lost loved ones myself, but not for his circumstances. His maker will now judge him. The only justice here is that he will not get to enjoy the riches he plundered from the public and the little people — his employees. My only hope is that his family, likewise, does not benefit from those riches. — lennieb
The family should pay restitution to all who were harmed. I lost revenue with my pension fund because the State of Florida invested in Enron. Sell the yacht and anything else required to pay back what has been stolen. — traumacase
Massive coronary in his sleep, eh? Must have been some nightmare! Maybe I saw too many episodes of "The Twilight Zone" during SciFi Channel's marathon over the holiday, but I'd like to think that Rod Serling teamed up with the Angel of Death to escort ol' Kenny Boy directly to Satan himself. Kenny Boy? Meet your cell mate, Ted Bundy. — Rozita Tee
It is so odd that his death came right after his conviction, especially if he has never had trouble with his heart before this. The tremendous stress from all of this must have been a great strain on his heart. I don't wish anybody ill will, but if he did indeed intentionally do the things that he was convicted of, then sometimes you just reap what you sow. — ShiningStar
I'm confused ... Don't you need a heart to have a heart attack? — WBernie
In the matter of Ken Lay's unexpected and sudden death, my sincerest condolences to his wife, Linda, and his beloved family. The stress and condemnation of all events for Ken Lay in these past trying years finally took its toll. Dr. Lay's faith, though, vindicated him from future sentencing and further humiliation. As always, God has the last say in everything and the courts will have to accept God's final decision in the matter of Ken Lay. — Peggy Fadgen, Texas
May he rot in hell. — the working man
This poor man has been hunted by the little people for something that he had nothing to do with. It was just bad timing that the business Enron collapsed during the dotcom bust. Envious and jealous ex-employees had to take their anger out on somebody, so, they chose to kick a dog when he was down. Petty, petty people. I'm just glad to see poor Mr Lay not have to serve one day in jail, for a crime that Mr Skilling committed. As far as the little people getting their hateful justice, let them eat cake! — Trust_No1
I don't believe Ken Lay is dead. With all that stolen money, he just brought a new identity. Now, watch his wife disappear in a couple of weeks to join him. Have we all forgotten … money talks! — BDM
My thoughts and prayers are with his family, it's only American what he did — make a buck at the expense of others, that's what we all live for and would do if we had the opportunity. — Dave Bennett
One word: Karma. — Carol8446
Good riddance. His family (who are enjoying the fruits of his greed) are certainly not suffering as much as his victims that lost everything. I'm sure they'll buy themselves something nice and forget his name by tomorrow. His death was too painless, hopefully in hell it will be much worse (no chance of him going anywhere else). Let his family feel some pain for once. Good riddance. — JMS, Md.
As with any other estate the government should take all the assets associated with him, his family, and any business he might still have been involved in and distribute it on a percentage basis to those defrauded by him and his co-conspirators. I am sorry for his family but I think they have still been reaping the rewards of his ill-gotten gains; i.e: his wife's birthday yacht. Why should they get to enjoy a better life than those he stole from? — dnr06
I agree with those who say this smells fishy. Call in the FBI and other unbiased authorities. Sadly, this country has allowed greed to be the evil it is often referred to. Even now, there are those admiring and emulating Ken Lay. — Another skeptic
First impression ... how terribly convenient! Largest contributor to the Republican Party, enough money to easily disappear, thinks he has done no wrong. Sorry, knowing a pastor and going to church does not make one a Christian. — Yorkie Lover
I hope the death of Mr. Lay was natural and not suspicious. Initially, it sounds suspicious considering what's been going on, but on the other hand, all the stress that has been in his life lately could have caused undue stress on his heart. I will hold judgment until autopsy is completed. We should respect the family of Mr. Lay regardless of how we feel what he had a part in with Enron scandal. I will pray for his family during this difficult time. — SBXL06
Isn't it ironic that he died in his "vacation" home in Aspen while so many of his employees lost every penny they had. I've worked all of my life and will never have a vacation home or a yacht but Ken Lay did. I'm sorry for his family but I am having a difficult time finding any pity for him. — Tom, Mich.
We are all part of a grand design. Each of us is but a small part of the whole. Perhaps Mr. Lay's contract with the dance we all share was to expose how vulnerable we can be to the greed of those who run corporations. If so, he did a great job. Hopefully, we have learned a great deal that will benefit many people in the future. In the end, his deeds are manifested physically in his own body. Mr. Lay expressed wide-felt betrayal with the very part of his humanness where the pain for self and others lives in his heart. His heart attack is an implosion.
We are all capable of horrible things. Humanity can be very unkind. May we all evolve and may humankind find a better way to co exist. God bless our planet, God bless us all. — From both sides
© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints