Mary Jones says of her sister Ashley, "She should have a chance to have a life. Her life shouldn't just be taken away from her like that.” Ashley brutally murdered their grandfather, aunt and attempted to murder Mary and their grandmother.
It was in August 1999 when Ashley, then 14, and her 16 year-old boyfriend decided to slay Ashley’s family because they disapproved of the relationship. The mayhem that followed involved shooting, stabbing and setting on fire of those who were raising Ashley and Mary, then 10. Mary and the grandmother barely survived. The grandfather and aunt did not.
Ashley’s grandparents took her in because she had stabbed her Mother while the mother was 8 months pregnant.
An adult committing such a brutal and heinous crime could expect the death penalty, but a 2005 Supreme Court decision banned imposing the Death Penalty on youthful offenders who weren’t 18 at the time of the crime. 19 States allow “Life Without Parole” for offenders who commit such brutal crimes and were under 18 at the time, according to a group opposing even that sentence, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)
Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, which represents Ms. Jones and several other juvenile lifers said,
“Thirteen- and 14-year-old children should not be condemned to death in prison because there is always hope for a child.”
Human Rights Watch in California has released a 100 page report, When I Die, They’ll Send Me Home, claiming that often, the “children” receive heavier sentences than adults.
Elizabeth Calvin, children’s rights advocate at Human Rights Watch and author of the report says,
“Sentencing children to life without parole means they will die in prison, without the possibility of a second chance at life. The public can be kept safe without locking children up forever for crimes committed when they were too young to vote, drink, or even drive.”
A Bill, SB 999, banning ‘Life Without Parole’ for juveniles in California, died in the Senate this past February.
Alison Parker, deputy director of the US program of Human Rights Watch says,
“Kids should be punished, and held accountable. The crimes we're talking about are very serious crimes. But children are uniquely able to rehabilitate themselves, to grow up and to change. A life-without-parole sentence says they're beyond repair, beyond hope.”
Deborah LaBelle, a human rights attorney and director of the ACLU's Juvenile Life Without Parole Initiative claims,
“As every parent knows and as every social scientist understands, this is a time of ill-thought-out, impulsive lack of judgment, problematic years … To throw them away and say you're irredeemable as a child is a disturbing social concept.”
All over the land bleeding hearts pour out, “they're not mature enough to understand their actions, they’ve had hard childhoods, they were abused or molested, jail is not a deterrent, won't someone please think of the children?” Reformists seem more concerned about the quality of life of the killer rather than the victim who no longer has a life.
Justice for victims and personal responsibility seem to have been forgotten in the quest for more leniencies for juvenile murderers.
Many have said the parents should be held responsible for these young criminals. Forgotten is that parental authority has been usurped by state authority and that all too often, the parents are the victims who are now dead.
Mary Nalls, the 81-year-old grandmother left to die by Ashley Jones and her boyfriend, now says,
“I believe that she should have gotten 15 or 20 years. If children are under age, sometimes they’re not responsible for what they do.”
Laura Poston, the prosecutor in Ashley’s trial says,
“I don’t think every 14-year-old who killed someone deserves life without parole. But Ashley planned to kill four people. I don’t think there is a conscience in Ashley, and I certainly think she is a threat to do something similar.”
Ashley, now in her 20’s said in a telephone interview, “Everybody I loved, everybody I trusted, I was betrayed by,” claiming her mother to be a drug addict and her step father sexually molested her. Yet that isn’t whom she and her boyfriend killed.
As is expected she also says, “I’m very remorseful about what happened.”
I am reminded that when animals, which the left and evolutionists often compare humans to, kill a human, they are hunted down and killed themselves. Be it a household pet or a wild animal, they are euthanized with no chance for retraining.
Leniency, in this writer’s opinion, isn’t in order for those who commit the most heinous of crimes in the most brutal manner. It isn’t about rehabilitation; it is about protecting society from a sociopath.