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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Judicial Tyranny: Lest We Forget

It's important to remember the details of this case, from the court summary:

At the age of 17, when he was still a junior in high school,
Christopher Simmons, the respondent here, committed murder. About nine months later, after he had turned 18, he was tried and sentenced to death. There is
little doubt that Simmons was the instigator of the crime. Before its commission
Simmons said he wanted to murder someone. In chilling, callous terms he talked
about his plan, discussing it for the most part with two friends, Charles
Benjamin and John Tessmer, then aged 15 and 16 respectively. Simmons proposed to commit burglary and murder by breaking and entering, tying up a victim, and
throwing the victim off a bridge. Simmons assured his friends they could “get
away with it” because they were minors.

The three met at about 2 a.m. on the night of the murder, but Tessmer left before the other two set out. (The State later charged Tessmer with conspiracy, but dropped the charge in exchange for his testimony against Simmons.) Simmons and Benjamin entered the home of the victim, Shirley Crook, after reaching through an open window and unlocking the back door. Simmons turned on a hallway light. Awakened, Mrs. Crook called out, “Who’s there?” In response Simmons entered Mrs. Crook’s bedroom, where he recognized her from a previous car accident involving them both. Simmons later admitted this confirmed his resolve to murder her. Using duct tape to cover her eyes and mouth and bind her hands, the two perpetrators put Mrs. Crook in her minivan and drove to a state park. They reinforced the bindings, covered her head with a towel, and walked her to a railroad trestle spanning the Meramec River. There they tied her hands and feet together with electrical wire, wrapped her whole face in duct tape and threw her from the bridge, drowning her in the waters below. (Note from Mark: per witness testimony at the time, Mrs. Crook had freed her hands from the duct tape, which was why the bastards had to retie her. The Court summary also leaves out the broken ribs and other injuries that appear to have happened before her suffocation at the hands of these "children.")

By the afternoon of September 9, Steven Crook had returned
home from an overnight trip, found his bedroom in disarray, and reported his
wife missing. On the same afternoon fishermen recovered the victim’s body from
the river. Simmons, meanwhile, was bragging about the killing, telling friends
he had killed a woman “because the bitch seen my face.”

The next day, after receiving information of Simmons’ involvement, police arrested him at his high school and took him to the police station in Fenton, Missouri. They read him his Miranda rights. Simmons waived his right to an attorney and agreed to answer questions. After less than two hours of interrogation, Simmons confessed to the murder and agreed to perform a videotaped reenactment at the crime scene.

Per Justice Kennedy, and his 4 cohorts, to put Simmons to death would be "cruel and unusual punishment" as he had not reached a mature understanding of his actions. Interesting that his girlfriend, if he had one, would have been mature enough to kill her baby in her womb, and not have to inform her parents in any way. Inconsistency, anyone?

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