Wednesday, November 15, 2017

On Victims and Killers and Survivors. On Life and Death. On Forgiveness. - UPDATE

Lexington, Kentucky.  April.  2015.  An apartment complex.  Salahuddin Jitmoud delivering a pizza. 

Well, not exactly.  Exactly, Jitmoud was delivering his life (so the cops and courts said) to 3 men who were looking to rob pizza delivery guys.  He was 22-years old.

I don't know who actually killed Jitmoud.  Apparently the actual killer hasn't been indicted.  But Alexander Relford, according to the prosecutor (via Marwa Ettagouri at the Washington Post), "set up the robbery, he provided the knife, he tampered with evidence."  And there's the fuck-you factor.
[H]e is the one who ate the pizza afterward.
Relford got 31 years.  

  • Complicity in murder.
  • Complicity in robbery.
  • Attempted tampering with evidence.

He'll be out when he's 55.

In the criminal courts, that's little more than business as usual.  

What's not is what Abdul-Munim Sombat Jitmoud did.  He's the father of Salahuddin Jitmoud.  The kid who was murdered for his pocket change and a pizza.  He's the one who gives the lie to pretty much everything the haters want you to hear.

A Brief Digression

The case involved a shooting.  There were two victims - one intended, one an innocent bystander.  (Shit happens when bullets fly.)    

Wait, did I say there were two victims?  Only sort of.  Oh, the defendant was separately charged for each shooting.  And there's no question they were both shot (one in the leg, the other in the hand).  But the accidental victim of the gunshot?  She couldn't identify anyone as a shooter.  All she knew, all she could tell the cops was that the guy who shot her wore a red hoodie.

But the defendant didn't have a red hoodie. 

The detective said, testified under oath, that she wouldn't cooperate.  All she'd tell us about the shooter, the detective said, is that he wore a red hoodie.  And since she wouldn't cooperate, the detective said, she wasn't an "actual victim."  

Really.  That was the testimony.

End Digression

You hear that Muslims are terrorists.  The President tells you that thousands cheered in the streets in New Jersey as they watched the World Trade Center collapse.  They say it's all about hate.

Talk to Abdul-Munim Sombat Jitmoud.  Whose son was killed for a few bucks and a pizza.  Ask him.  Or just note his words, from the witness stand, at the sentencing of Alexander Relford who was at the least complicit in the murder of his son.  
Forgiveness is the greatest gift of charity in Islam. . . . I don't blame you, I blame the Devil, who misguided you to do such a horrible crime.  
There are things you rarely see in court.  
Teary-eyed after the father's gesture, Fayette County Circuit Judge Kimberly Bunnell called for a break in the hearing.
And then, after court resumed, after Relford apologized, after that.
Then the father and the convict hugged, Relford wiping his face with tissues as Jitmoud wrapped his arms around the 24-year-old.
In a couple of hours, the good people of the State of Ohio will be putting Alva Campbell to death.  It's pretty clear it won't go well. The nurses who examined his arms for the execution team said his veins can't support the needles. He'll be struggling his way to the death house with his walker.  I assume he'll still be wearing his colostomy bag.   They're giving him a special pillow so he won't have trouble breathing while they kill him.  (Yes, you read that right.) 

His will be the 56th state-sponsored murder in Ohio since we got back in the killin' business in 1999.  We've got folks lined up and set to go until well into 2022.

As I said, Relford will get out when he's 55


Execution failed.  They couldn't find a vein.  They're going to try again, another time, if they can manage to keep him alive until then.  It'll get easier, of course, 69-year-old, terminally-ill men routinely have their veins get bigger and sturdier over time.

I can't help but note that Ohio is now the only state to have failed even once to complete an execution since the bungled electrocution of Willie Francis in 1946.  And we've now failed twice.

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