Maybe during this holiday season I shouldn't be writing about murders and such. But when something disturbs me or bothers me, I figure it might just bother you too. So forgive the negative nature of today's column during this season of joy because the following two incidents carry no joy whatsoever. Only pain.
Harold Richardson is a cop killer. The St. Louis man killed St. Louis police officer Robert Stanze in August of last year following a traffic stop on Interstate 70. Richardson had been a suspect in an early police assault where a suburban police officer was wounded.
Stanze and his partner arrested Richardson and placed him in a squad car. But Richardson was able to pull a concealed gun and shoot Stanze. The bullet missed Stanze's bulletproof vest and entered his upper chest, striking him squarely in the heart. He died on the spot.
The troubling part of this story is that Richardson on Friday avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty. He'll serve life in prison at taxpayer expense. He's a cop killer with a mile-long criminal record. He serves no purpose to mankind. He should die.
Stanze left a wife and three small children. Richardson, on the other hand, tried to shift the burden of blame by claiming he was beaten by police following the arrest. The wrong man is dead and justice will not be served by allowing the 23-year-old Richardson to live a long life in prison.
Also on Friday in Washington, D. C., another cop killer avoided the death penalty with a guilty plea. Kofi Orleans-Lindsay was a well-known drug dealer who had been the target of a lengthy police probe. During a drug deal, Orleans-Lindsay unexpectedly pulled a gun on a veteran undercover agent and shot him in the head. A two-week manhunt uncovered Orleans-Lindsay in New Jersey and he was brought back for trial.
During his plea hearing, Orleans-Lindsay told the judge that the undercover agent did nothing to provoke the attack. "I was simply carrying out what I decided to do," he told the court. Through a plea bargain, Orleans-Lindsay too will spend his remaining years in prison. And he too deserves to die.
The public grows frustrated with the judicial system because thugs like Richardson and Orleans-Lindsay live while police officers die. There is no justice in these two cases. There may be closure for the families but the ability to live your remaining life in prison is not a fair trade-off for murder of a police officer.
Two prime death row candidates cut a deal. Unfortunately, they become the winners and society becomes the loser. It should not be this way.