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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Prosecutor's deal didn't serve justice

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

A man hires a hit man to kill his wife. The hit man takes a tire iron and beats the wife to death. The plot is uncovered and arrests are made. Following a trial, both men - along with an accomplice - are convicted and sentenced. The husband gets life in prison without parole. But the hit man - the man who took the weapon in hand and beat the wife to death - receives only a 25 year sentence.

Is that justice?

Well if you ask me - and no on has of course - justice was most certainly not served with these two sentences. The husband should have received life in prison. But the hit man, the actual killer, should also have faced at least that much punishment if not the death penalty itself.

The case stems from Kansas City this week and involved a June 2000 murder there. Antonio Swanson testified for the state in the prosecution and detailed his role as the hit man. He said that Aaron L. Henderson of Kansas City had hired him to kill his wife. Henderson hoped to collect a large insurance policy on the woman. But despite Swanson's testimony, why would a prosecutor "cut a deal" with an acknowledged killer? What good to society is served by letting the man who actually wielded the weapon go free after 25 years?

I recognize that the judicial system must sometimes offer leniency for criminals in exchange for information to convict other criminals. But this case involved murder, not theft or some other lesser charge. Why allow a man to eventually go free when he was the one who committed the murder? It was evil to plot the murder. It was equally evil to take a weapon in hand and kill another human being.

The sentences should fit the crimes and in this case, I fear they did not.

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