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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Our justice system isn't always just

Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Let's face it - sometimes the justice system is anything but just. Just take the case of James Homer Elledge.

Back in 1965, Elledge robbed a convenience store, kidnapped the female clerk and doused her with gasoline. She escaped before he could light the match however.

Elledge was sentenced to 10 to 50 years in prison but served only three years. By 1970, he was back on the streets again.

Four years later, Elledge was at it again.

This time, Elledge killed a Seattle motel manager by hitting her 28 times with a hammer. It was a sensational and horrendous murder and Elledge received a life sentence. But again he was paroled 20 years later.

This time, Elledge waited only three years before striking again. In 1998, Elledge kidnapped two women from a church. He killed one woman in the church and escaped with the second woman. The second woman was sexually assaulted but lived.

Tuesday, Elledge was executed in Washington state for the final murder. His 35 year history of violent crime finally came to an end. In the end, Elledge actually asked for the death penalty. He declined to appeal his case. He said there was a wicked part of him that was driven to kill.

Why did authorities not see this "wicked" side of Elledge? After the first near-murder, the second murder should have assured that he never was released from prison. But overcrowding and a flawed justice system put him back on the streets. And he killed again.

There must be a better way.

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