In a move that seems designed just for the death penalty, Florida prosecutors have officially filed their intent to seek the death penalty against 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. As I’m sure you’re well aware, Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, armed with high-capacity rifle and shot and killed 17 people among students and staff. However, Broward County prosecutors are still open to a plea deal. To my knowledge, which is totally just off the top of my head, no school shooter, who survived long enough to make it to trial, has ever been sentenced to death. Hopefully, Cruz will be the first.
Florida is known for its frequent use of the death penalty although by my estimate it would probably be about 15 years before he would be executed. By then, I doubt even Florida will still have the death penalty. If only this reprobate could be executed 17 times.
According to Nikolas Cruz’s attorney, public defender Howard Finkelstein, Cruz will plead guilty to the 17 murders he committed, if the death penalty is taken off the table. However, before we get to that, I also have to comment on the tactic the defense attorney is taking with Cruz.
“I am overwhelmingly saddened that every system failed. The school system, the mental heath system, DCF, law enforcement and the FBI,” said Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, whose office is representing Cruz. “Because we failed to stop it, and we could have, we should not kill the person who behaved as we feared but ignored.”
Be that as it may, that doesn’t change the fact Cruz killed 17 people just for the sake of killing. Whatever system may or may not have failed him, he’s ultimately the one who pulled the trigger. He is responsible for his actions. He knew it was wrong and knew it was illegal and he did it anyway. For those reasons alone he is the textbook candidate for the death penalty. What other punishment is there to mete out the justice his victims deserve? My hope is the prosecution will not even consider offering this assclown a deal and fervently pursue his execution.
The only drawback to the death penalty is it will still be at least 20 years before he’s actually executed, filing his appeals while his victims don’t have that luxury.
It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since Richard Beasely was sentenced to death. Not surprisingly, he hasn’t been executed yet. If Ohio doesn’t impose a moratorium on the death penalty, I give him about another 15 years before his date with the needle.
In case you may not remember Richard Beasley, he concocted a plot where men would be lured to Ohio for a phony farm job Beasley posted on craigslist. Three me were shot and killed by Beasley after responding to the ad. Those men were Ralph Geiger, David Pauley, and Timothy Kern. A fourth man, Scott Davis, was able to escape from Beasley’s attack.
Beasley also employed a teenage henchman by the name of Brogan Rafferty who helped Beasley dispose of their victims’ bodies. The pair would split any ill-gotten gain they were able to claim from their victims. Rafferty was tried as an adult and sentenced to life without parole.
Beasley was attempting to steal the men’s identities, probably because he was already facing criminal charges for drug and human trafficking.
This past week, the Ohio State Supreme Court upheld Beasley’s death sentence. Beasley’s defense argued there were errors in the trial which should cause a new trial. However, not only did the Ohio Supreme Court vote unanimously that Beasley’s conviction should stand, but the court also voted 6-1 that the Beasley’s death sentence should remain. The only thing more perfect than that in Ohio was the Cleveland Browns 0-16 season last year.
But again, as is the problem with most death penalty cases, Beasley will probably never get the justice he truly deserves. While Beasley can file appeal after appeal, Ralph Geiger, David Pauley, and Timothy Kern can’t appeal their death sentences and they didn’t even commit any crime.
Normally I’m not one to engage in remembrances of tragic events however sometimes there are events that are so tragic that when the sate comes around it must be discussed. One of those tragedies was the brutal 2006 murder of 10-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin at the hands of Kevin Ray Underwood of Purcell, Oklahoma. This past Tuesday, April 12th, was the tenth anniversary of her murder.
What made Jamie’s murder stand out more than most was not only the brutal fashion in which she was killed but because of the senselessness of it all and the selfishness of her killer. You see, Underwood was obsessed with the concept of cannibalism. He had such a strong desire to know what the taste of human fresh was like that he not only murdered his young victim but he raped her postmortem and attempted to cut off her head after that. Underwood cared so little about his victim that he even volunteered to join the search for her after she went missing. Underwood was convicted in 2008 and sentenced to death shortly thereafter. After having a number of appeals denied he still remains on Oklahoma’s death row. The death penalty has never been awarded to one more deserving of it. At least by me Jamie will never be forgotten.
I am sad that i have to post that the bodies of Bud and June Runion have been found. The couple from Marietta, Georgia went missing after going to look at a Ford Mustang that was advertised on craigslist. Unfortunately there was no Mustang which seems more like a ploy to commit robbery. The suspect in the Runnions’ disappearance and death, 28-year-old Jay Towns, has been apprehended. The Runions’ vehicle was found submerged and their bodies were found nearby but not underwater.
Here’s something that I forgot to mention in my last post. I don’t post about every craigslist scam anymore. There are so many that it would be too time consuming for me to post every one. However with the last few months I have heard of a scam where scammers are posting ads on classifieds sites like craigslist advertising either high dollar value or classic cars. In too many cases the cars don’t exist and are just bait to fleece people out of their money. Unfortunately in this case the cost was much greater.
My heart breaks for the Runion family and my prayers and condolences go out to them.
Indiana State Sen. Brandt Hershman recently introduced a bill to the Indiana legislature that would make a school shooting where victims are killed an aggravating factor that would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty. Sen. Hershman says he was influenced by the shooting of Andrew Boldt by Cody Cousins at Purdue University in 2014. After pleading guilty and showing no remorse Cousins was only sentenced to 65 years. Sen. Hershman believes this would be a deterrent to would be school shooters.
“By including school shootings on the list of qualifying factors for the death, I hope it will deter future tragedies and allow for the most deplorable criminals to receive punishment to the fullest extent of the law,”
While I admire Sen. Hershman’s stance on the matter and as much as I am a firm believer in the death penalty, ultimately this will not deter school shooters if history is any indicator. First off this would not apply to suspect’s who are minors as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that even minors who have been charged as adults can not be executed. Secondly, most adult school shooters are of the mindset that they will not live to be apprehended. Cho Seung-Hui, Stephen Kazmierczak, and Charles Carl Roberts IV, all committed suicide before they could be taken in. Even Cody Cousins killed himself in prison. None of these men were rational individuals so trying to deal with them on a rational basis would not have deterred them from their respective atrocities.
I think a better solution to deterring school shootings is making mental healthcare in our society less stigmatized and more readily available but even that’s not a perfect solution.
19-year-old Afrikka Hardy is believed to have been the victim of alleged serial killer Darren Vann of Gary, Indiana. She was working as a prostitute out of nearby Chicago and was advertised on Backpage. However just because she was a prostitute doesn’t mean she deserved to be strangled to death by a serial sex offender who has allegedly confessed to killing at least 7 victims. She had family and loved ones who cared about her.
This is more blood splashed on the pages of Backpage since they facilitated the murder in my opinion but they’re not going to stop unless they’re forced to stop. Congress needs to get off its ass and update the archaic Communications Decency Act before there are more Afrikka Hardy’s. Backpage isn’t going to stop on its own while there is blood money to be made.
UPDATE 5/31/2016: Vann’s trial, which had been scheduled for July 25th, has been rescheduled for an unknown date. A hearing for the new trial date is set for August 19th. The defense requested the rescheduling stating they need more time to prepare.
UPDATE 5/3/2018:Vann has pleaded guilty to killing Afrikka Hardy and six other women. He is expected to be sentenced to life without parole later this month.
Please check out the fascinating article by journalist Alex Wukman that I posted the link to above.
Do you know how I’m always saying just once I wish one of these murderous troglodytes would actually admit to their crimes? You know, like the ones who shoot several people in front of witnesses then please not guilty? Well it seems one man on trial for capital murder did just that.
Darrell Wayne Parker was facing a possible death sentence, in Texas no less, for the shooting deaths of his mother and stepfather, Cathy Youngblood and Charles Youngblood. Parker seemed to be the type who couldn’t keep his nose clean and ended up having to live with his folks. He got into it with his stepfather when Parker didn’t do some chores that Mr. Youngblood asked him to so Parker gunned down Mr. Youngblood and his own mother who just happened to have breast cancer.
Parker pleaded not guilty but while testifying admitted to the crime.
“We all agree you are guilty of capital murder,” Nelson Barnes, prosecuting attorney, had asked Parker. A “yes, sir” then stumbled out of Parker’s mouth.
I would have paid good money to see the virtual aneurysm his defense attorney had. Subsequently Parker was sentenced to life without parole.
Not surprisingly there are plans to appeal but those plans seem to come from his attorney and not Parker himself at least that’s how it’s being portrayed in the press.
As usual I’m not doing the article justice so I urge you to go read it in its entirety.
Previously an Ohio jury recommended the death penalty for 53-year-old Richard Beasley after he was convicted of killing 51-year-old David Pauley, 47-year-old Timothy Kern and 56-year-old Ralph Geiger. Yesterday Beasley was officially sentenced to death for killing the three victims in the craigslist job scam murders. Beasley was in danger of going to jail for drug and human trafficking charges and was going to steal the identities of his victims to avoid capture.
By my estimation Beasley will more than likely be 73 when his execution date finally rolls around. Since Beasley appears to be in not so good health he’ll probably die of natural causes long before then.
Beasley stated in court that his conviction will be reversed. Don’t hold your breath on that one.
First I apologize for not being current in this story, real life and all that.
Anyway last week 53-year-old Richard Beasley was convicted in the killings of 51-year-old David Pauley, 47-year-old Timothy Kern and 56-year-old Ralph Geiger. Beasley lured them to Ohio by posting craigslist ads promising employment on a ranch but instead killed the three men in order to steal their identities. Beasley was facing criminal prosecution on charges of drug and human trafficking. Beasley enlisted the aid of a family friend, the then 16-year-old Brogan Rafferty. Rafferty was convicted and sentenced to life without parole. Beasley’s schemes unraveled when a fourth victim got away after being shot in the arm.
Yesterday an Ohio jury recommended the death penalty for Beasley. The judge is expected to issue her sentence next week. Ohio is no slouch in the death penalty department having executed over 50 criminals since 1999. On the downside by my estimations it’s usually an average of a 20 year wait between crime and execution.