26 February 2008

What Would YOU do?

Albuquerque is a-buzz on talk radio and local tv with the following story:

Decorated Marine gets six years for killing

A decorated Marine veteran who served in Iraq [he was part of the team that saved Jessica Lynch] was sentenced Friday to two years in prison and four on probation for voluntary manslaughter.

Elton John Richard initially faced a murder charge for shooting and killing a man who had broken into his garage, but later agreed to enter a no contest plea to the voluntary manslaughter charge [He was told by his attorney that if he pleaded guilty there would be NO prison time: WRONG!] .

Richard admits chasing down, shooting and killing 34-year-old Daniel Romero during the early morning hours of December 31, 2004 after discovering Romero in his garage trying to break into his car. [Elton DID NOT SHOOT Romero in the back. He had him on the ground and Romero was fighting back shouting "my homies will be here any minute *explicative deleted* Romero was also high on cocaine]

Richard claims he was protecting his wife and 15-month-old son when he chased Romero from his northwestern Albuquerque home to Paseo del Norte and Eagle Ranch Road where the shooting took place.

Richard was 27 at the time of the shooting. He had served eight years in the marines including several months during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He was working as an armed guard for the national Nuclear Security Administration at the time.
Richard could have faced up to nine years in prison.

Richard was also ordered to pay RESTITUTION to the family of Romero: $500 a month for the next five years!!!!!!!!!

I am not a member of the NRA and do not own a gun, but I sure as hell feel Richard should NOT be in prison. The judge in the case said he issued the judgement because Richard showed no remorse....FOR WHAT?? HE DID NOTHING WRONG!!
Governor Bill Richardson is currently reviewing the case for pardon.


Kevin M said...

Gee, Mick, I dunno....

If he'd shot the guy on his own property, I think an easy case could be made for protecting his wife and son (or even his property).

But once he'd chased the guy off the property (the stories I read said he caught up with him trying to climb a fence a quarter of a mile away), they weren't in immediate danger any more. I mean, the guy was trying to climb a fence - how much more "running away" did he need to be before he wasn't a danger to the wife and kid back in the house?

I'm not saying this was a cold-blooded murder. Obviously it was a crime of passion, and that was factored into the plea bargain, because what he did fits the classic definition of manslaughter.

Now, whether he was mislead by his attorney, or the DA, as to the probable sentence - that's another story. Even so, the two-year prison sentence doesn't seem unreasonable to me (especially since he'll presumably be out in considerably less).

I speak from the state that originated the concept of "shoot the burglar" - Louisiana was, I believe, the first state to make it justifiable homicide to kill someone who had broken into your home. We've since expanded that to include outbuildings on your property, such as garages and sheds. We've expanded it to include commercial buildings (you can shoot someone breaking into your business). We've expanded it to include automobiles (you can shoot someone attempting to break into your car).

But even here, once the person leaves the house, shed, building, or car, you can't shoot him. The point is to protect yourself against an imminent threat, and once the criminal has run a quarter mile away, he's just not an imminent threat.

MICK said...

I guess my anger comes from the fact he has to pay restitution to a thief. From what his neighbor/eyewitness has said in court documents Romero's family and wife are both decent people. He also has a kid. At some point in his life Romero went from good kid to being a trouble-maker and this is where it lead him.

My understanding is that Richard did not shoot him with the intent of killing him but as the two men were fighting for the gun [the witness has said that Richard gave Romero several warnings to stop resisting] Richard felt his life WAS in danger. There was also another guy with Romero at the time but Richard was not sure where he was.

Man-slaughter or not once a fund is set up for Richard you can bet I will be donating money to it. My newphews Dakota was stolen and stripped just a few weeks ago. As far as I'm concerned Richard was protecting my nephew and me from guys like Romero.

And yeah...Richard should have just blown him away the minute he found him in his garage...I can assure as gun crazy as NM is many people are going to consider that option should such a thing as this happen to them.

Anonymous said...

You know, Richard didn't want the guy dead... he wanted him arrested! He was a Marine sniper... killing the guy would have been too easy. The perp was threatening Richard and reportedly said he'd be back when Richard wasn't home! That is terrorism... and that is why this Marine went to the extent he did to track the guy and make sure the cops could get to him.
As for him shooting the guy as he climbed a fence... he died from the single shot... and his body was IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET! Seen many fences in the middle of the street lately?