The convicted murderer in the United States serves, on average, just six years in prison.
-- (Atlantic Monthly; Sept. '97, "A Grief Like No Other")
Ask yourself....are they rehabilitated?
My husband was killed by a repeat violent felon. He assaulted him and was charged with assault 3. He received a one year sentence. Got out in May or June of 1999. In August, this man was in a bar, beating up people, caused a brawl. One man finally stopped him. He shot him and his friend, killing Frank Flammia, and wounding his accomplice. Finally, we have closure. The sad part is the man who defended himself was just sentenced to 8 and 1/2 years! Check out www.newsday.com, the title of the article is "How Judge Weighed Sentence in Killing". This man unfortunately used an illegal weapon, but knowing Frank Flammia's history, I know this man was acting in self-defense. Yes, it was vigilantism, but that violent felon is gone.
Timothy Carl Dawson eluded not only a 10 year prison term in a plea deal that broke state law, he missed being sent to jail when he stood before a judge two months before police say he went on a killing spree that left five people dead last month.
The attack on his girlfriend notwithstanding, little in Dawson's past could have hinted at the astonishing outburst of violence that, police say, started with a home invasion slaying October 5, 1998 in DeKalb County and included the October 15 killing of a young man at a College Park Days Inn and the October 18 execution style murders of three men in the Atlanta Hilton and Towers.
Even so, Dawson, 37, should have been in a state prison for the attack on his girlfriend, and he could have been locked up in the Fulton County Jail at an August hearing. Probation officials warned that Dawson remained a threat to the woman and to society.
Dawson's run-ins with the law began in 1989. He was convicted of theft by receiving in Baldwin County and sentenced to five years in prison and five years probation. He spent a few months in a low-security work camp and was freed in a statewide early-release program.
He was still on probation in 1995 when he was charged with raping his girlfriend. Shortly after the arrest, he was shot three times by an Atlanta police officer who was holding Dawson after the same woman complained that he was stalking her and trying to keep her from testifying.
While in jail, Dawson had to undergo sex crime counseling. A therapist determined "simply that he accepted no responsibility for his crime" and was still dangerous.
Dawson was released in July 1997 and later stopped reporting for visits with parole officers.
Probation officers sent the court their third arrest warrant for Dawson October 15 after he again failed to appear for a meeting. But, again, they couldn't find him. By then, Dawson's victims already were falling, police say.
First was Raycell Mason, 44, who was shot several times in the head at his home. Then October 15, the same day the third warrant request was sent, LaDarris Hawkin's body was found at a Days Inn on Old National Highway.
Three days after Hawkins' death, three men were found similarly executed in the Atlanta Hilton and Towers hotel in downtown Atlanta. Phillip Dover, 31, and Ronald Gutkowski, 51, and Gerrold Shropshire, 50, were executed.
"The system is far too lenient with respect to people who violate probation conditions. I don't think the average defendant in Fulton County feels he has to be accountable."
"The bottom line is, he slipped through. He was incorrigible. But only history tells us that."
Millington, Tennessee - On April 11, 1989, Terry Joe Windham, #204460, who was out on probation for burglary and vandalism, decided to commit murder to see what it felt like to kill. He chose as his victim 16-year-old Jeremy Peter Flachbart, a learning disabled student with the emotional and physical make-up of a 12-year-old. Windham ambushed Jeremy on his way home from school. He struck Jeremy once in the head from behind with a two-foot 4X4 fence post. Jeremy collapsed. Windham hit him 10 more times. After the 10th blow, Jeremy groaned. Windham hit him 5 more times for a total of 16 blows.
After hiding Jeremy's body in a drainage ditch by the railroad tracks, he then went to a local game room to brag of his vicious act of murder to his brother and friends. He then took them to view Jeremy's body. While the police were investigating the scene, he was on the side lines watching, bragging, threatening to kill others if they told. He was arrested on the scene, and later confessed and was charged with first degree murder. He made threatening phone calls to other students while in jail awaiting trial. He was plea-bargained out and agreed to a sentence of 20 years for second degree murder. He will receive his FIFTH parole hearing in July, 2000.
On September 17, 1993, my wonderful 19 year old son Tim was murdered by a repeat offender. He was a convicted felon, out on probation, not following his probation. There was an arrest warrant issued 13 days before he took my son's life. The felony was for carrying a loaded, illegal hand gun. No policemen searched for him. He was free to carry an illegal, loaded handgun once again. My son had received threatening phone calls for a month before he was shot, because he had broken up a fight between a girl and a gang member. My son's murderer belonged to the same gang. When the police came for the reported shooting that night, they assumed Tim was on drugs and in a gang. At the coroner's inquest, the detective's mouth dropped open when the coroner said Tim had no drugs in his system. By then it was too late! No investigation, the murderer turned himself in to police a week after he took Tim. There was no search warrant issued for the murderer or the handgun. The gun is still missing! The day after Tim's funeral, the state's attorney promised us murder one. Five months later he took me to the back of the courtroom and told me he was going to plea bargain down to involuntary manslaughter because the police did not do their job. Unbeknownst to us, the state's attorney was already making plans to run for judge the next year. He said, "I refuse to publicly indite the police department." It would have been politically incorrect. Needless to say, the shooter received the maximum sentence for manslaughter - 10 years in prison. He was released after 2 and 1/2 years. His prison length was shortened for "good behavior".
Within a month or two he was shot at 2 in the morning outside of a bar. Unfortunately, he survived and probably is carrying that same illegal handgun on the streets of our city. Where is the justice? My terrific son Tim was a non-violent, loving kid who told our family almost every day, "I love you guys." I can still hear his voice. I will always have him in my heart. My family and I feel that our "lack of justice" system needs a complete overhaul and so do our police!
In 1983, Dean Hernandez murdered my twin sister Kathy Durman in Port Arthur Texas, with use of a hand gun. He is serving a life sentence. This was not his first offense. In 1976, he was sentenced to 10 years in the Texas State Prison for the attempted murder of another former girlfriend. This offense took place in Groves, Texas. For the last 16 years, my family, Kathy's friends, and myself have fought very parole hearing against the parole of Dean Hernandez, and will continue to do so! For everyone whose has to go through this I say to you...... "Never give up!"
peace be with you - Kim Harrington and Family
February 3, 1995, 3 young men, 13, 18 and 20, decided to break into my parents' (Les and Carol Dotts) home in Knoxville, Tennessee. The 20 year old had 2 previous convictions of aggravated assault as a juvenile. All 3 admitted on the witness stand as to using and selling drugs, breaking into and stealing cars. The 20 year old also less than a week before murdering my parents, shot and left a man for dead in his home during a botched burglary.
The 18 and 20 year olds may be eligible for parole in 25 years. The one who was 13 will be out for good in March of 2000. Even though he went AWOL during a Christmas furlough from December, 1998 to March, 1999, no additional time was placed on his sentence. No charges were placed against his family for helping him, hiding him, or buying him a car that he used during this time. Our juvenile system is out of control. More and more juveniles are committing heinous, violent crimes, and when they turn 18, 19 or 20, they are let loose. This is wrong!
---Jeanne, Knoxville, Tennessee
Nineteen year old Sonya Santiago was murdered March 7, 1999 by an early release prisoner in the state of Florida. He was sentenced to 6 years but was "grandfathered" and allowed out after 3 years. He was wearing an ankle monitor and under the watch of the probation department. His employer repeatedly wrote him excuse notes so that he was able to roam the area at will and not go directly home from work. The restaurant was within sight of Sonya's apartment. He not only raped her, he slashed her throat. He is now in prison awaiting trial for Sonya's murder. DNA put him at the scene. Three months after murdering Sonya, he broke into a house a few blocks from her apartment and raped a mother and her 9 year old daughter. DNA also tied him to this.
Where was the probation department when this man was released on sexual assault with a deadly weapon? If he was not rehabilitated enough to be released without an ankle monitor - why release him?
In September, 1978, 19 year old Lisa Hullinger was beaten to death by her former boyfriend, William Coday, Jr. After just 16 months in jail, Coday was released.
In 1997, William Coday, Jr. was arrested and charged with the July 13, 1997 murder of another former girlfriend, Gloria Gomez.
Coday awaits trial in Miami, Florida.
Lisa Hullinger's parents are the founders of The National Organization of Parents Of Murdered Children, Inc.
In 1966, Charles Yukl was convicted of murdering Suzanne Reynolds. In 1968, he was sentenced to 7-15 years for manslaughter. After plea bargaining, he was released from prison in 1973 after only serving 5 years.
In August, 1974, Charles Yukl murdered Karin Schlegel from New York City.
Charles Yukl was sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 1982.
In April of 1983, Gary Merton's 16-year-old daughter, Shari Ann Merton, was murdered. In that same year, Shari Ann's killer accepted a plea bargain from murder to manslaughter, and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. In the wisdom of our Connecticut Justice System (good time for "good behavior", etc.), 18 years equaled just 9 years and 8 months. So, in December, 1992, Shari Ann's killer, Corey R. Barton was released from prison.
So much for "wisdom"! Shari Ann's killer was arrested in November, 1998 and charged with the murder of 27-year-old Sally Harris of North Carolina. Although too late for the Harris family, let's hope that North Carolina justice will be a little wiser!
Our son, Karl Harford was murdered March 7, 2004 by a known criminal, Damien Sanders, who in my opinion should have been in jail. Damien Sanders was 22 years old at the time of the incident. He had an extensive juvenile and adult record, especially for is age. At least seven adult arrests with 4-5 charges with each arrest. Usually he pled to a lesser offence and was given probation or a time served sentence. He was found guilty of felony auto theft, felony burglary, and felony resisting arrest in 2001, and served one year in state penitentiary. Later, in July of 2003, he was caught driving a stolen car, caused an accident where the driver he hit was injured, he fled the seen of the accident, had no drivers license, was carrying a hand gun, and resisted arrest. And those are just the charges they filed. I thought any convicted felon that was released to society lost their right to carry a hand gun for the rest of their life. However, two days later he was released from jail on bond (I believe $2,000.00). He never showed up for court in November or again in December, and a bench warrant was issued. Unfortunately issuing a bench warrant doesn't really mean anyone will be looking for him.
On March 6, 2004 Damien and two of his friends, Brandon Patterson(18) and a 14 year old, crashed a party at Ball State University where Karl was going to school. After the party was over Karl apparently offered the three a ride home from the party. They directed him to an abandoned home and robbed him of two dollars and murdered him. On March 4, 2005 Damien Sanders pled guilty to murder and armed robbery and was sentenced to 85. On May 10,2005 Brandon Patterson pled guilty to armed robbery and is serving a 50 year sentence. The 14 year old was held in a Juvenile Center in Muncie on theft charges while the prosecutor’s office was awaiting more evidence to come out in the other trials. Since the other two suspects pled guilty the 14 year old was released after 15 months in juvenile and is now a free man. In January of 2006, Damien Sanders pled guilty to the charges from July 2003 and 10 years was added on to his sentence.
If your loved one's murderer was known to be a repeat offender, send us the information at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be glad to include it on this page.