Tuesday, September 18, 2007

At Least We're Not Alone


Baptists aren't the only ones who play politics and get all at odds with one another.

A Birmingham News article sets forth a squabble involving the Alabama State Attorney General, and the association of (and some individual) District Attorneys in Alabama. The case concerns two youth who shot and killed a pawn shop owner and one of his employees, some years ago.

What makes this interesting to me is that I knew John Burleson (the pawn shop owner, and no relation, per Wade) personally. I'd been a reserve police officer here in the late 1970's, and talked to John many times when he'd bring information to the stationhouse (about firearm sales, etc). I'd have been interested anyway, I suppose, as John had a shop right by city hall, and another a few miles away, where he was murdered.

I've talked to folks who claimed to have seen the surveillance video. The two were tied up and the robbers had left the store, but came back a few seconds after leaving and shot them execution-style. My friends said it was horribly cold-blooded.

One of the men was taken off death row; the linked article describes the circumstance as to why. Then, last week, the DA here in Shelby County spoke on the other killer's behalf, and asked that his sentence be commuted to life imprisonment. I'd imagine that cost him any future political dreams. I don't think the public liked that.

The rub: the State AG has stepped in and taken the case away from him, and the DA's association and some individually have come out condemning his involvement. They're claiming "playing politics" and stuff like that.

Gee, where have I heard THAT before, huh?

I personally don't see how the absolute injustice, IMO, of letting one man off death row because of what the US Supreme Court said about cold-blooded murderers under 18, is reason to give the other criminal a pass on the ultimate penalty in the name of "fairness".

I'm not talking about the appropriateness of the death penalty here. I just find it curious that the Association has become involved in the squabble. I'd think they'd find more beneficial things to pursue than the protection of a man who was involved in the cold-blooded murder of a friend.

BUT: I must also ask myself if I'd be posting about this, had John Burleson not been a friend of mine.

Oh, well .. I guess the old adage applies. People are only human.

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