"Avenging a Wrong"
Remember Aaron Vargas? He was the man who went to the home of the older man whom he said had molested him as a child, shot the man once in the chest, and then waited half an hour to be sure he died. The Northern California community of Fort Bragg had rallied around Vargas, and he was expecting a lenient sentence after his guilty plea to manslaughter.
The judge said no dice; the fact that the victim was a child molester was largely irrelevant. "To grant probation in this case would put a stamp of approval on the defendant's actions, which I cannot do," he told a courtroom packed with Vargas supporters. "The use of violence to correct a wrong only encourages more violence."
The sentence: 9 years in the state pen.
The other case featured in the exercise was that of Andrew Hoeft-Edenfield, age 20, who stabbed a University of California at Berkeley fraternity man to death during a drunken street brawl. A jury had rejected his plea of self defense, and convicted him of second-degree murder. Although he cried and pleaded for leniency, the judge noted that he fled from the scene after the stabbing, discarded his knife and hid out at a friend's house.
The sentence: 16 years of hard time.
Reactions, readers? Were either of the sentences surprising? Were they just?
The "Killing and Culpability Exercise" is HERE