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  1. #1
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    Child Killers Walk Free

    Our judicial system is turning into a joke. "I didn't mean to" is an excuse a child makes.....not one which should allow child killers out of prison. I am SO TIRED of criminals being given phsycological excuses for what they've done.

    Child Killers Walk Free

    Mon Jan 31,10:41 AM ET

    By GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer
    SEATTLE - Yvonne Roberts used to take comfort in knowing that the killer of her 3-year-old son was behind bars. That was before two recent state Supreme Court decisions let him out — four decades early.

    And that man, David Crane, isn't alone. Noreen Erlandson served 12 years instead of 40 for killing her own 2-year-old daughter. Keith Whitling was supposed to serve another 15 for his infant's death in 1992. In all, at least two dozen child killers could end up walking after the court found they were improperly convicted.

    "I'll never accept it," Roberts said. "These justices need to go. They didn't just create a loophole; they opened the cell door to these killers."

    The court's rulings concerned Washington's law on felony murder, defined as a homicide that occurs — even by accident — during or "in furtherance of" another felony, such as robbery. For decades, prosecutors charged defendants with second-degree felony murder if an assault led to someone's death.

    In 2003, the court decided the law did not allow for felony murder charges in assault cases. In a 5-4 ruling, justices reasoned that in such cases, the assault and homicide are the same act: The homicide does not occur "in furtherance of" assault, it is the assault.

    Last fall, the high court said it was applying the decision retroactively — invalidating felony murder convictions based on assaults from 1976 to 2003, when the Legislature changed the law to explicitly allow second-degree murder charges in fatal assault cases.

    About 280 prisoners may be entitled to have their convictions vacated, as well as an unknown number of people who already served time. Prosecutors face the option of filing new charges of manslaughter, which carries a lesser penalty; finding another felony on which to base a felony murder charge; or trying to prove the killing was intentional — a daunting task years after the fact. In cases where children were impulsively shaken or beaten to death, intent is especially difficult to prove.

    "When a court overturns 30 years of precedent to set hundreds of murderers free, that's a terrible ruling," prosecutor Seth Fine said. "The court doesn't seem to recognize the impact this is having on victims' family members — how wrenching it is to have these cases reopened years or decades after they were closed."

    Crane's murder conviction for killing 3-year-old Steven Collins in 1986 was vacated in January, and prosecutors could only file manslaughter charges. Crane has insisted on his innocence, but he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge, and was sentenced to 20 years. He walked free with credit for good behavior. Crane declined to be interviewed for this story.

    "Sex offenders have to register where they're at," said Roberts. "David Crane doesn't. How many more children is he going to have access to? It's spitting on the memory of my son."

    Defense lawyers argued that in many cases, convicting someone of murder when the intent to kill wasn't proven resulted in unfairly long sentences. Whitling was 21 and admittedly unprepared for the stresses of parenthood when he shook his crying baby to death in 1992. Last month his murder conviction was vacated, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and he was released 15 years ahead of schedule.

    Whitling said in a recent interview that he doesn't feel worthy of his second chance at life, but is honored to have it.

    "For the victims' families having to rehash this, it's awful. I don't have any answers for them. I'm sorry for their loss," Whitling said. "There's not a day I don't wake up feeling that, that I caused the loss of my daughter. I would have a beautiful 13-year-old today, but I don't."

    Some counties are hoping to keep child killers behind bars by refiling second-degree felony murder charges against them. Instead of the charges being based on the felony of assault, they will be based on criminal mistreatment.

    Spokane County has already had one defendant go back to prison after pleading guilty to a charge refiled that way, and Clark County has tried the same approach — requiring prosecutors to show that the defendant withheld the child's necessities of life.

    In cases where prosecutors can show a pattern of abuse, they could also seek a conviction of homicide by abuse.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    1,749
    puke puke pukepuke puke pukepuke puke pukepuke puke pukepuke puke pukepuke puke pukepuke puke pukepuke puke pukepuke puke pukepuke puke pukepuke puke pukepuke puke pukepuke puke pukepuke puke puke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Canada
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    that is sickening and disgusting! the legal system never seases to amaize me. it's a huge joke!
    Life is what you make of it. Make it happen.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2004
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    oklahoma
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    6,161
    i think they need to bring back vigilantes


    that would be a great job.


  5. #5
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    Oct 2004
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    That's horrible, it seems to often we are hearing about parents killing there children.. truly sad.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Florida, USA
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    I don't understand why a person who kills a child, theirs or anyone else's, gets less of a penalty than a person who kills an adult.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2004
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    or less then a person who commits a robery.
    Life is what you make of it. Make it happen.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Under your bed.
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    Our society is so cooked and lenient on the wrong people that it makes me sick.
    My Daughter Rules!

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