Saturday, March 22, 2008

Outrage as (female) killers walk free

Kay Dibben in the Sunday Mail on March 23 2008, writes that "The families of homicide victims have hit out at government prosecutors over what they claim is a growing number of murder charges being reduced to manslaughter, allowing killers to walk free after just a few years in jail."

What follows are a list of murder cases which have been downgraded to manslaughter and it is interesting to note that all the perpetrators are female. Reminds me of the loving mother who killed her daughter - GR Klein

Karen Lee Cooper, 50, who stabbed her husband, Kevin Lee Watson, to death in 2006 because he stopped her listening to her Bruce Springsteen CD, was sentenced to eight years' jail after the Crown accepted her plea to manslaughter on March 14.

• In 2004, Irena Fotek's only child, John Fotek, 24, of Inala, was fatally stabbed in the chest by his ex-girlfriend Cindy Miller, whose murder charge later was dropped to manslaughter. She pleaded guilty and was jailed in March last year for seven years, but will be out on parole by March 2010.

Mrs Fotek said her life had been "absolutely destroyed" and would have preferred a murder trial, but was told by the prosecution there was a risk that Miller could be acquitted. "They said at least if she got guilty of manslaughter she would have some time in jail, but it's not enough," Mrs Fotek said. "You can't go out and kill people."

Lynette Norman was jailed for seven years in July 2007 after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of her de facto Robert Shelley, 47, a father-of-four, at Goondiwindi in September 2006.

Norman, who stabbed her intoxicated de facto in the throat in the loungeroom of their home with a kitchen knife, will be eligible for parole by March next year.

The victim's daughter-in-law Letitia Shelley said: "You don't go and get a knife and stab someone in the neck and expect them to live."

• Attorney-General Kerry Shine is appealing the eight-year sentence given to Alice Marie Potter, who pleaded guilty in December to manslaughter of her daughter Stephanie Brummer, 5.

Potter's murder charge was downgraded after the Mental Health Court ruled she was severely depressed at the time. (Please note that about 70% of all men in prison present with some form of mental health problem and the majority are depressed, however this cannot be used to excuse such behaviour as has been done with this female perpetrator - GR Klein)

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