Archives for category: Trials

 

It’s been five years, Casey. Five years since you appeared in front of America in that Orange County Courtroom, charged with the murder of your daughter Caylee. Five years since your attorney Jose Baez went all the way to Clearwater to select a jury that would decide your fate. Five years ago, you were the star in the “trial of the century,” a trial that got underway in May and finished on July 5th, the day after America celebrated its independence.

Five years ago, that jury that was taken from their homes in Pinellas County decided your fate and told the world that you didn’t do it.

Here it is, five years later and some still think of you as the most hated woman in American history since Mary Mallon (Typhoid Mary) or Tokyo Rose. Five years ago, some called you cold.

Callous.

Aloof.

Some would even go so far as to call you a bitch.

That’s their right and opinion. Just say.

In my last two columns to you, I made some suggestions that I hope you are working on or will work on.

First, the “Dolce Vita” tat. Get rid of it. It makes you look like a target and I’m sure that there’s someone that’s out there that wants to do you harm. That tat? Sticks out like a zit on a teenager’s face before prom.

Second, take care of the mental and physical health issues and that includes getting the tubes tied. You’re not exactly mother material and you make Joan Crawford look like Mother of the Year.

Third, make peace with the parents and your brother Lee. While the ‘rents almost threw you under the bus, it was Lee that got your bacon out of the fire. He’s married now and recently became a father, which means that you need to be a good aunt to your niece or nephew. As for George and Cindy, they’re not getting any younger (and neither are you), so it’s good if you made peace with them while they’re above ground, not while they’re being lowered in a grave in a casket.

Fourth, it’s time to tell your story. Let me say it LOUDLY. TELL YOUR STORY and be honest and forthcoming about everything. If you choose to go the talk show route, that’s fine but be honest. A good talk show host, such as Dr. Phil, can see through a lie in a heartbeat. Same goes if you decide to write a book. We want to know what happened to Caylee, good or bad. Put the cards on the table, push the chips in the middle of the table and go all in. I’d also apologize to the people at Universal Studios. They’re not exactly happy with their name being dragged through the mud.

You didn’t exactly go scott free. There was the issue of the cops being lied to. Not the smartest move, chica. I mean, what the hell were you thinking? For that, you lost four years of your life and $4,000. Think about it. If you had been forthcoming with the fuzz, this might have never seen the light of day.

So now you’re sort of working as a photographer and that’s good, launching your own photography business called Case Photography but having a few projects here and there. You’re still living in the Sunshine State and getting some financial support from your dream team. Your dating life? Stinking like road kill, some would say and you’ve only been on a few dates since the not guilty verdict. While you’re not exactly rolling in dough, you’re doing okay.

You could do better.

Casey, you’re not getting any younger. You don’t have any friends your age that can relate to you and some have bailed on your because of the dark cloud that hangs over you like Eeyore. The relationship with the parents and your brother Lee is rocky at best but it can be repaired. You have to take the first step and if that means all four of you getting in a car and driving somewhere to talk things out (not yell, cuss or call names) and get everything out in the open.

Five years ago, a jury of your peers listened to testimony and saw evidence in the trial that could have sent you to Florida’s Death Row. That jury told the state of Florida that they didn’t prove their case BEYOND a reasonable doubt and said you were NOT GUILTY. Be open. Be fair. The most important thing? BE HONEST. You’ve already answered to a court on Earth. It would stink to be you in front of St. Peter.

The clock is ticking, Casey. The next move is yours.

Don’t blow it.

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His mother said he had never been in trouble, not even a demerit in high school. All of that changed when Carleen Turner’s son Brock decided that he was going to sexually assualt a woman at Stanford Univeristy.

It seems that the Turners are living in a world that we don’t know about. Her son made himself a target, first for the sexual assault of a co-ed at a frat party at the Palo Alto, California school. Then his sentence of six months drew the attention of many Americans and the ire of those that support rape and sexual assault victims.

In her statement to the court, she told Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, basically saying that any time behind bars would ammount to a death sentence. “I beg of you, please don’t send him to jail/prison. Look at him. He won’t survive it. He will be damaged forever and I fear he would be a major target. Stanford boy, college kid, college athlete — all the publicity. This would be a death sentence for him,” she wrote.

Really, lady?

REALLY?

It would seem that Mrs. Turner is not just drinking the Kool-Aid, she’s chugging it. This is the real world, Mrs. Turner. We’re sorry that your child is going to jail for six months. What is ticking the nation off is that he’s not doing more time in either San Quentin, Cocoran or Pelican Bay. Instead, he’ll be doing time in the Santa Clara County Jail and hopefully it’ll be in adseg for his own safety. The jury got it right when they convicted your son. It was the judge that got it wrong.

Three felonies.

Assualt with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated-unconscious person. Guilty.

Penetration of an intoxicated person. Guilty.

Penetration of an unconscious person. Guilty.

In most people’s books, that’s three strikes. He’s out.

There are some good sides to all of this. First, he’s scheduled to be released on September 2nd. He’s now a sexual offender and that status is going to follow him for the rest of his life on Earth. Secondly, he was given three years probation, which means that once he gets out of the county jail, any offense he commits means that he goes back behind bars. Thirdly, Stanford has banned him from ever setting foot on the campus. EVER. Fourthly, USA Swimming wants nothing whatsoever to do with him when they banned him for life. Stanford for their part also withdrew a 60 percent swimming scholarship that they were going to give him prior to his legal problems.

Carleen Turner said that the trial destroyed her family. She didn’t even mention the victim in her letter. What if this happened to her or one of her kids? She probably would be screaming bloody murder. The other two Turner children have collectively accumulated $150,000 in student loan debt because they were unable to pay for college tuition.

“His dreams have been shattered by this. No NCAA Championships. No Stanford degree, no swimming in the Olympics (and I honestly know he would have made a future team), no medical school, no becoming an Orthopedic surgeon.” Your son’s victims had dreams, too. Wake up. Smell the French Roast. His actions probably destroyed whatever dreams that she had.

Carleen Turner also described how the trial has “destroyed” her family.

In her statement, she went on to say, “I know what a broken heart feels like. It is a physical pain that starts just below the collar bone and extends to below the rib cage, it is a crushing and heavy ache that feels like I am being squeezed. This feeling has not left my body since the verdict. This verdict has destroyed us,” she wrote. That’s fine. But don’t forget the victim here, madam. She’s a broken person that your son raped (although some are calling it a sexual assault) and may never recover emotionally. The physical? It will heal. It’s something we can see. It’s the emotional and social that we don’t always see.

We get that you’re upset that Brock is going to lose whatever freedom he had. He should have thought about that. You can’t unring a bell. Your son is the poster child for a justice system that failed a young lady that needed it the most. She wasn’t perfect by any means. If anything, when he’s alone in his jail cell, we hope that he sees his victim as a human being, with hopes, dreams, desires and needs.

The Turners need to know and understand that when Brock gets out of jail, he’s not going to be the same person. The school that he attended does not want him anymore, making him a persona non grata. He’s become an outcast not just in the academic world but in the swimming world. His every move will be watched not just by parole officers but by the media and the public. His victim will be watching him too and her senses, along with the senses of her friends and family will be heightened as well.

Two sets of dreams were destroyed. Brock Turner’s dreams were destroyed when he assaulted a young lady at a frat party at Stanford. The other set? His victim. Carleen Turner needs to hear that when you destory one person’s dreams, your dreams get wrecked too.

Brock Turner thought he was on top of the world, at least that’s what his mother thought.

Let’s hope that she comes back to reality with the rest of us.

He took an oath to protect and serve.

It seemed that oath didn’t mean a hill of beans to Drew Peterson. Already convicted for killing his third wife Kathleen Savio in 2004 and sentenced to 38 years for that crime, Peterson though he was above the law when he tried to have the prosecutor killed.

Peterson fought the law.

The law won.

The former cop was found guilty Tuesday of trying to hire a hit man to kill the prosecutor who put him behind bars for murder, with the jury taking only an hour before reaching that finding for the crimes of solicitation of murder for hire and solicitation of murder. The sentence for that crime? Peterson is now looking at least 60 years.

As he left the Will County Courtroom, Peterson glanced at Cassandra Cales, the sister of Peterson’s missing wife Stacy and then, according to WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune, mumured something that could not be understood.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow prosecuted the 2012 murder case against Peterson, who tried to arrange for a fellow inmate to hire a relative to kill the prosecutor.

The inmate, Antonio Smith, worked with authorities to record his conversations with Peterson in November 2014. According to court records, Smith told Peterson he had arranged for his uncle to kill Glasgow by Christmas 2014. In the recordings, Smith said in a November 15, 2014 recording “I told him what you said, that it’s the green light on, that basically go ahead and kill him. That’s what you wanted, right? … It ain’t no turning back.”

Peterson responded, “OK, all right. I’m in,” Peterson responds. “From the first time we talked about it, there was no turning back. … If I get some booze in here, we’ll celebrate that night.” There was no doubt about Peterson’s intentions and prosecutor Steve Nate made that clear in in his closing argument Tuesday.

“He said it, he meant it, and he’s guilty,” said Nate, of the Illinois attorney general’s office, who collaborated with prosecutors in Randolph County.

Peterson’s defense attorney Lucas Liefer said the recordings were nonsensical prison talk and pointed out that Peterson never directly said on the recordings that he wanted Glasgow killed. He also said Smith, serving time for attempted murder, was unreliable and a liar. “This case is wrought with inconsistency and incomplete evidence,” Liefer told the jury.

In 2007, Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in a case that garnered international headlines and prompted Glasgow to reopen a probe into Savio’s death, which was originally ruled an accident.

No one has ever been charged in Stacy Peterson’s disappearance. Drew Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police officer, is the only suspect in the case, authorities have said.

On the recordings, Peterson told Smith he believed his wife was still alive.

Drew Peterson is a narscist. Drew Peterson is shallow. Drew Peterson thought he was above the rules because he wore a badge and carried a gun. Drew Peterson will now sit in a prison cell, wearing prison orange instead of police blue and hopefully will be segregated from the people he sent to jail. He is a marked man, holding the secret of his missing wife close to his vest. Drew Peterson will draw his last breath behind prison walls and hopefully no parole board with even a glimmer of common sense will let him out. Drew Peterson will die in prison and the only way that he will get out will be in a body bag.

While this doesn’t completely answer the question with regard to Stacy’s being alive or dead, it assures the residents of Bolingbroke that Drew Peterson will never walk their streets again. Drew Peterson fought the law.

The law won.

For those of us that have been scratching our heads in the change of venue in the Ross Harris murder trial, there have been some things that needed to have light placed upon it. Since Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley granted the defense’s motion to change venue (that is, to move the trial to another location), some have thought that this was the wrong move.

They are the ones that are wrong. 41 jurors had been selected with one more needed and then the venue change. There were some potential jurors that showed their bias against the defendant, saying that the defense would need to disprove their held belief that Harris was guilty.

This is not the case. The defense does not carry the burden of proof. Perhaps those people need to relearn their civic lessons from high school. It’s the state that has that burden. In the Harris case, as just about every criminal case, the burden belongs entirely to the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. State law also requires that a potential juror be impartial in order to sit on a jury.

As for the question change of venue? The defense is the only side that can file a motion to change venue and it has the burden of proving overwhelming pretrial publicity and the only time a judge could move the venue on her own without a defense motion is if there are threats of violence against the defendant.

Jury selection, also known as voir dire, is a chance for the district attorney and the defense to question those that were called to jury duty to see if they could be fair, unbiased and impartial. In Cobb County, they were given an 18-page questionaire to fill out and then they are questioned by both the state and defense as individuals, not in groups, to see if there is bias. While what was written by these potential jurors are sealed away from public view, it gave both sides a chance to see the legal landscape for themselves and the defense did not like what they saw. The final jury, whenever that will be selected and where, would make up the final petit jury, a jury that is mandated by the 6th Amendment and Georgia statutes provide that subsequent transfers are possible, because the Constitution demands an impartial jury.

The strong opinions of the citizens of Cobb County could have had a huge effect on Ross Harris if he were to be convicted for the second degree murder of his 20-month old son in July 2014 and could send the case back by the Georgia Supreme Court if that were to take place.

While some of us sit and wonder why judge Staley did what she did and when she did it, others are applauding her decision. It may have been the right thing to do but the bigger question now is where to put this trial? It would more than likely have to be in a county with almost the same population, economic and racial makeup as Cobb and some are guessing that it could take place in the early Fall in either Muscogee (Columbus), Bibb (Macon) or even Glynn (Brunswick). In any case, that jury would have to be selected and the process would have to start all over again.

Ross Harris may have used bad judgement on that July day in 2014. He may or may not have been texting underage females and for the most part, he may not be the sharpest knife in the restaurant but he is entitled to a fair trial. Notice the word FAIR. It’s not going to be a perfect trial. It doesn’t work that way.

Somewhere in Georgia in the Fall of 2016, while most of the state will be paying attention to the Atlanta Falcons and Georgia Bulldogs on the football field, a trial will take place. 12 citizens will be sworn in to listen to evidence and be fair and impartial, regardless of how they feel about the defendant, their political views, their faith or even if they believe in the death penalty (which is not being offered in this trial). They’ll be asked to leave their biases at home, check their egos at the door and listen to both sides.

Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley got it right when she decided to change venue two weeks ago in Marietta. Let’s hope the jurors that will be selected somewhere in Georgia don’t fumble on the goal line with this one.

When and if the People of Georgia v. Justin Ross Harris gets underway in Marietta, there are some key players that you need to know about and that’s just before the opening arguments are even started. Those opening arguments will not take place in Marietta, thanks to a change of venue, right as voir dire (jury selection) was about to wrap up.

As someone once said, you can’t tell the players without a program and there are principals in this little drama, so to speak. So thanks to the Atlanta Journal Constition, here are the key players in what some are calling the biggest trial since Casey Anthony.

The defendant, Justin Ross Harris. Until now, he had never been in any legal trouble until the former 911 dispatcher and Univeristy of Alabama graduate alledgedly left his infant son Cooper in a hot car in June 2014. He worked as a web developer for Atlanta-based Home Depot until he was arrested for the death of the child in 2014. Cobb County Prosecutor Vic Reynolds contends that he had a desire to shed the responsibilties of being married and having a child.

Leanna Taylor (Harris). Although she filed for divorce from Harris in March and has now gone back to her maiden name, she believes that the death of her son was an accident. They met on a blind date and Harris told friends that he was “going to marry that girl,” which he did in 2006. The couple moved to Marietta in 2012 and gave birth to Cooper afterward. Despite details of his extramarital affairs, she chose to stand by her husband and remains convienced that her son’s death was a horrible accident.

Maddox Kilgore: Harris’s lead defense attorney knows the lay of the legal landscape in Cobb County, since he also once worked as a prosecutor in the Cobb district attorney’s office. Early in his career, Kilgore worked in the criminal division of the state attorney general’s office, representing the state in criminal appeals. “I got to go to state prisons all over the state, up in the mountains, down in the swamps. If someone was trying to get out of jail on a technicality, I had to keep him in,” he said during a recent talk at Kennesaw State University. He then prosecuted felony cases in the Cobb District Attorney’s office for six years before moving over to the defense bar in 2005. In his KSU talk, Kilgore described his defense work as an honor and “incredibly rewarding.”

Vic Reynolds: The prosecution of Ross Harris stands as the biggest trial of Reynolds’ brief tenure as Cobb’s district attorney. Cobb’s answer to Jack McCoy of “Law & Order,” the Rome, Georgia native wore a badge in Rome for four years after he graduated from college. Three decades ago, he moved to Cobb, finished law school and worked in civil litigation before signing on as a prosecutor in neighboring Fulton County. He then moved to the Cobb DA’s office, later served as a judge and also practiced for several years as a defense attorney before he was elected DA in 2012. His clients included Lynn Turner, the infamous Black Widow killer who was convicted of poisoning her two husbands with antifreeze.

Chuck Boring: The senior assistant district attorney in Cobb heads the prosecution team in the Harris case. Boring has been a prosecutor for 15 years, focusing on crimes against children. He was raised in Griffin and began practicing law as a prosecutor in Coweta County, first moving to the Fulton County DA’s office and then to Cobb. He now heads the Cobb DA’s Special Victims Unit (a male version of Olivia Benson, if you will). Said DA Reynolds: “Any time there is a case involving a child victim it goes through Chuck’s unit. … So in looking at this particular case and obviously having a child victim, I made the decision to put Chuck as point on the case. So he’ll be trying the majority of the actual trial.”

Phil Stoddard: The Cobb County police detective is the lead investigator in the Harris case. He has been a critically important witness for the prosecution in multiple pretrial hearings and because of that testimony, is also expected to emerge as a key component of the defense’s case. Harris’s lawyers say he focused on Harris from the beginning, going so far as to exaggerate or even fabricate testimony implicating the defendant in his son’s death. He joined the Cobb Police Department in 2007 after six years with Atlanta police and had worked in the CCPD’s crimes against persons unit for about seven months when he caught the Harris case.

Mary Staley: The Cobb Superior Court judge will preside over the trial of Ross Harris. Staley is a former assistant district attorney in Cobb who is widely viewed as one of the most prosecutor-friendly judges in metro Atlanta. She was elected to the bench in 1992 and is up for re-election this year.

So there are the players. Take notes. There’s going to be a quiz afterward and that will take place when this trial gets underway. As for the where, we’re still waiting.

(Cue cheesy soap opera-type music)

When we last left the Cobb County Courthouse, the voir dire for the Ross Harris child death trial was almost complete.

The operative word here is ALMOST.

Harris and his legal team got some help when Judge Mary Staley ruled that there was going to be a change of venue.

Cobb County would not be hosting the trial of the man that is accused of leaving his 20-month old child inside a hot car in the Georgia heat in June 2014. Things were about to move to another place.

Prior to the venue change, 41 of the 42 jurors that would be needed for the malice murder trial that would have taken place this month were selected. The defense, led by Bryan Lumpkin, had complained that Staley qualified five jurors who were biased against their client and that a fair and impartial jury could not be found in Cobb County. After the judge asked the two sides to collaborate on a solution, the state agreed to strike two of the five disputed jurors. The defense, feeling confident, insisted all on five.

The judge said that forced her hand and Staley said in her ruling that media coverage has been “persistent, pervasive” and ultimately colored the prospective jurors opinions. Some jurors on their forms had written that Ross deserved the death penalty, even though Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds was not seeking it.

While the defense did have their victory of sorts, the decision could delay the trial for months, which means that things could be pushed back to the Fall or early Winter.

Court administrator Tom Charron, a former Cobb district attorney, said earlier Monday that if the trial were moved, it would likely be delayed until fall and could cost the county an additional $100,000.

Reynolds told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV, “While we’re certainly disappointed, we understand and respect the court’s ruling. Whenever and wherever this case is set for trial, the state will be ready.”

Harris, accused of intentionally leaving his son inside a hot car to die, faces malice and felony murder charges in a case his attorneys say cannot be fairly tried in Cobb. Defense lawyer Bryan Lumpkin asked Judge Staley to “err on the side of caution” by granting their motion for a change of venue, saying at least half of the jurors stated a bias against the former Home Depot web developer.

Like the defense, the prosecution also cited numbers, particularly the 34 jurors the defense agreed were qualified. The state denied the defense’s contention that police abnd prosecutors had deliberately inflamed public opinion in the case, saying the defense did its share to raise the profile of the case. Since the motion for change of venue was granted, the process now has to start anew, using another jury pool chosen from outside the metro Atlanta area. Once a pool of (presumably) 42 jurors are found they would be bused to Cobb for a trial. If the trial is moved outside of Marietta, 30 minutes north of Atlanta along I-75, there is some speculation that Macon (Bibb County), Columbus (Muscogee County) or Brunswick (Glynn County) were possible sites.

Before making her ruling, Staley asked for an exact calculation of how many challenges she didn’t grant the defense and prosecution. She also agreed to review three of the jury questionnaires.

With that, there are some questions (Cue cheesy soap opera-type music).

First, will the county that the trial is moved to use the same questionare that caused this problem in the first place?

Second, will the jury be sequestered in their home county or bused to Cobb or will they stay put?

Third, will a county that has the same population type allow this trial to take place? Cobb would have to petition the county in question and they would have to respond either yea or nay.

Fourth, since Harris is currently being held without bond, would there be jail space in the county that gets the trial?

So Ross Harris got a break in his upcoming trial. He still has an unbreakable date with the justice system but now he’s going to get a do-over, as it were. His son is dead, his wife has left him and he sits behind bars in Cobb County with the mark of Cain on his head.

Say what you will about Ross Harris. He’s been accused of murdering his child by leaving him in a parked car while he went to work at Home Depot and texting underage females while still married. He’s not perfect and given the things that he’s been accused of, he’s not the sharpest knife in the restaurant. He’s been given a second chance of sorts with the change of venue. He’s hoping that the citizens of the county that gets this trial is fairer than the ones in Cobb.

Let the soap opera begin.

Again.

(Cue cheesy soap opera-type music)

He sat there in his chair, next to his attorneys and listened. One by one, the victims and the family members of those that lost their lives in Boston spoke.

In the end, Dzhokar Tsarnev found out what his fate would be and to no one’s suprise it was death.

Before his sentence, Tsarnaev spoke to the jury. He did not look at them, instead looking at US District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. that pronounced the death sentence, admitting his wrongdoing. On Wednesday, in the US District Court on Boston, he ended his long silence, asking Allah to help his victims and their families and apologizing for the pain and suffering he caused two years ago.

“If there is any lingering doubt … I did it along with my brother,” he said, referring to the bombings carried out by him and his older brother, Tamerlan. “I ask Allah to have mercy on me, my brother and my family.”

Standing at the defense table and speaking in a low voice, he said he was sorry but he never turned to face his victims — whose names, faces and ages, he said, he has come to know.

“I am sorry for the lives that I’ve taken, for the suffering that I’ve caused you, for the damage that I’ve done. Irreparable damage,” he said.

He added, “I prayed for Allah to bestow his mercy upon the deceased, those affected in the bombing and their families. Allah says in the Quran that with every hardship there is relief. I pray for your relief, for your healing, for your well-being, for your strength.”

Not all were impressed with his words and some of the comments made in a news conference after the sentencing let their feeling be known.

“The last thing we wanted to hear about is Allah,” Lynn Julian, one of the survivors spoke afterward. “He threw in an apology that seemed insenserce.” Julian, who lives about a block away from the finish line, suffered a back injury and permanent loss of hearing from the bombing in 2013. Scott Weisberg became an advocate for those that suffer tramatic injures after he was hurt in the bombing. Weisberg, a doctor from Birmingham, Alabama, who suffers from PTSD and a hearing loss, said “He said that he was remorseful, which I find hard to believe,” Weisberg said. “I think he spoke because people were expecting him to.

This was his one last moment. I don’t think it was genuine with his apology. We are still alive, even though there are four people that are not.”

Dzhokar Tsarnev will be shackled and taken on his way to Terre Haute, Indiana. The trial part of his life is over and a jury of his peers found him guilty for four counts of murder in the bombing. His life now in the figurative sense of the word hangs in the balance. Tsarnaev is the first person to be handed a death sentence in a federal terrorism case since the September 11, 2001, attacks. He and older brother Tamerlan, who died while fleeing police, set off two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev thought he was fighting a holy war and wanted to bring jihad to America. In the end, the jury spoke and spoke loudly, not just for those that were injured and lost limbs and livelihood but those that died, sending him the message that if you kill Americans, we will kill you, no matter how long it takes or who the executioner is. The average time from the time a person is sentenced to death to the time that sentence is carried out is about 12 years. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is 26 now, which means that if all the appeals are exhausted and the ducks are in a row from bill to tail, he will be 38 years old when he is given his last meal and then led to the death chamber. He will then be given a chance to make a final statement with witnesses present from the government and the defense, as well as his family and then be put to death.

The American public spoke loudly that Friday afternoon in the federal courthouse in Boston and Judge O’Toole confirmed their message. Bostonians know now that they can breathe easy knowing that a man that caused them grief and misery on a day that was supposed to be joyful will never do it again to anyone else and will pay for his action with his life.

When Judge O’Toole formally imposed the death sentence on Tsarnaev — a decision already made by a federal jury, he was not only speaking for those that lost their lives, he spoke for those that lost limbs, relationships and jobs after the bombing and he did not mince any words.

“Whenever your name is mentioned, what will be remembered is the evil you did,” the judge told him. “What will be remembered is that you murdered and maimed innocent people and that you did it willfully and intentionally. You did it on purpose.”

O’Toole recalled the evil Iago in Verdi’s opera Otello, who tries to justify his malice by saying he believes in “a cruel God.”

“Surely someone who believes that God smiles on and rewards the deliberate killing and maiming of innocents believes in a cruel God. That is not, it cannot be, the God of Islam. Anyone who has been led to believe otherwise has been maliciously and willfully deceived.”

In the grand scheme of things, Dzhokar Tsarnev will never draw breath as a free man and will eventually die behind bars. The only question is that will Nature take its course and kill him or will he die by lethal injection in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The victims that spoke yesterday talked about their hopes and dreams of a better future. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took those hopes and dreams away from them. Those that lost limbs will never get them back but in the bigger picture, they will be admitted into heaven (better to enter Heaven maimed than to go to Hell whole, Jesus told his disciples). They are the lucky ones. Some relationships have been damaged forever by the bombing, some have lost jobs and friends because of this and some have even gone bankrupt financially.

They spoke, he listened silently. Then it was his turn and to some that were there, his words sounded hollow, rehearsed as if he was in a movie, some even going so far as to say they were not sincere. His actions did him in. It will be some time before he is executed because of the appeals process, which could take at the very least a decade if not more.

Credo in un Dio crudel,” Iago sings in the Verdi opera based on the Shakespeare play. “I believe in a cruel god.” Judge O’Toole did was not in the mood to pull any punches and did not.

Dzhokar Tsarnaev will sit in a prison cell in Terre Haute, Indiana counting the number of days when he die. He will be allowed to feel sunlight on his face but it will not be as a free man. His punishment awaits him and it will be slow and painful. In the end, Dzhokar Tsarnaev will never leave on his own two feet. When the appeals are exhausted, he will know that the end is near. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was a national nightmare. Now he must pay the penalty and that bill will come due in time.