Originally created 09/16/02

Jury's 'not-guilty' verdict appalls and perplexes observer

A baby-mama drama, a fragile ego and a gun are ingredients for a homicide. Recently, I attended a homicide trial involving two black males in Richmond County Superior Court. I have attended these trials for more than 10 years, and I can't get used to the stupidity and senselessness.

Repetitious childbearing out of wedlock by different partners is taken too lightly in our society. The mothers will use these children as a way of manipulating the daddies and, more often than not, it has deadly consequences. We have seen it happen more than once.

Some people who feel the need to carry a gun are fragile, and a craving for respect drives them. ...

The purpose of a gun is to kill. When a person makes a conscious decision to carry a loaded gun, the decision has been made to kill. I agree with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, "Guns are bad news, and they bring sad news."

It's easy to blame the victim for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this case the deputy prosecutor thoroughly presented the incontestable fact that the victim was in his home and unarmed when he was shot and killed.

According to the trial testimony of several witnesses, the defendant received a call from his baby's mama, who was seven months pregnant by the victim. The baby's mama wanted the defendant to pick the baby up so that the baby would not see and hear the two of them fight. The defendant left his apartment, drove to a friend's apartment, got a loaded gun, went to the victim's residence, and shot the victim twice, fatally wounding him.

On the other hand, the defense argued that the defendant went to the apartment of the victim and his baby's mama to defend his baby. Thereafter, an altercation and some hitting occurred. During which the baby hit his head on the wall. Consequently, the defendant shot the victim twice, killing him.

Based on my court observations and the facts presented during the trial, I was shocked and perplexed by the verdict of not guilty of manslaughter. Though, the jurors believed that the defendant was justified in killing the victim.

Barbara Thurmond, Augusta

(Editor's note: The writer is the president of Blacks Against Black Crime Inc. in Augusta.)


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