[Vision2020] Murders in North Idaho Preventable?

heirdoug at aim.com heirdoug at aim.com
Tue May 22 23:23:03 PDT 2007

I have to agree with the following:

>From Bryan Fischer, Executive Director of the Idaho Values Alliance:

You certainly are aware by now of the three murders committed in North Idaho on Saturday night and Sunday morning, by a suicidal man who killed himself at the end of the shooting spree.

Sadly, all three of his victims would be alive today had Idaho law been followed in dealing with this man in his previous encounters with the law for his violent propensities.

Buried in the Idaho Statesman's story is this arresting paragraph:

In September 2005, Hamilton was arrested on a felony strangulation charge involving a girlfriend he had while separated from his wife. He was convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery of the girlfriend, who survived, and was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with 90 days suspended as long as he received followed court orders for counseling, Duke said. 

What is noteworthy here is that although this clearly was a case of attempted murder, he was convicted of only a misdemeanor charge and apparently served just 90 days of a 180 day sentence.

However, according to Idaho law (18-4015), "Every person who assaults another with intent to commit murder, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not less than one (1) nor more than (14) years."

Had he been prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, he would have been behind bars Saturday night - and remained there until 2019 - instead of loose in the streets of Moscow. His wife, officer Lee Newbill, and the church sexton he murdered before turning the gun on himself would all be alive today if his earlier punishment had fit the crime.

The fundamental purpose of government is to protect its citizens from violence through appropriate punishment. When justice is not done, the end result is that additional innocent people suffer, and what happened in Moscow over the weekend is tragic proof.

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