Saturday, January 20, 2007

What would YOU have done?

How far would you go to protect your child?

As a parent I sympathize with Saskatchewan father Kim Walker, who is now going to prison for murdering his then 16 year-old daughter's convicted drug-dealing boyfriend. I can't condone murder, but I know that there is something primordial in a parent's brain and heart that defies logic and common sense. In the heat of the moment, rational thought takes second place if one's offspring is in danger. That is how we are wired.


"My father is my hero,'' Walker's daughter Jadah said as she left for home without her dad.


Now Jadah will be without her father for the 10 years he has to wait in prison for parole.

There are many issues here. First of all, we can never justify murder but sometimes extreme circumstances require more legal flexibility. With the number of sentences served at home these days, I question this seemingly harsh decision.


"You may have honestly believed that shooting James Hayward was the only viable option to you,'' Justice Jennifer Pritchard said after imposing her sentence.

"In short, you were a desperate man and no doubt the hearts of most parents reach out to you, but you wrongfully killed this man.''


Tough call. I wonder how any of us would act in such a situation. It's easy to sit back in the comfort of your own home and cast judgment.

My guess is that Kim Walker has few regrets. His daughter is now safe.


* * * *

Update: This is a better link than the one from the Post which seems to have taken the Star-Phoenix story and abbreviated it. Interesting segment here:

The court heard testimony that the shooting followed months of growing concern over Jadah's health and behaviour, culminating in an anonymous letter to Walker and his wife in March 2003 telling them their daughter and Hayward were injecting morphine.

Acting on the advice of the RCMP, the couple had Jadah committed under a Mental Health Act warrant for assessment of her drug problem at the Yorkton hospital's psychiatric ward over the weekend.

But on the Monday of her release, Jadah Walker was picked up by friends and reunited with Hayward at his house.

The court has heard that on hearing this, Walker left his home with a Luger M80 semi-automatic pistol and extra ammunition. After asking a resistant Jadah to come home, he shot Hayward in front of his daughter and other witnesses.

Walker testified he remembers only "flashes" of the incident and nothing of the actual shooting.

It is quite possible that Walker, when faced with the extreme tension and frustration of having Jadah refuse to come home after her hospital stay and still firmly under Hayward's control, experienced an amygdala highjack and went ballistic. This is like temporary insanity inasmuch as rational thought takes a back seat to gut reaction. It isn't an excuse but it may possibly shed some light on the behaviour.




42 comments:

Ontario Lad said...

Any decent parent would give up their very lives to keep their children safe. What is 10 years comapred to that?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vicki said...

I haven't read all the details. Did the dad try getting help thru police? Is this a case where the creep slipped through the 'justice' system, further aggravating the father?It sounds like a situation that went on for some time .The dad was obviously desperate.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Vicki, I'm sure the Dad was at the end of his rope, but I don't know all the details either. I just know that a parent will do almost anything for the sake of their child. Hopefully more details will come out.

The case will be appealed from what I have heard.

Cherniak_WTF said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

It's too bad that Dad wasn't more careful to not get caught. A dope dealer faces danger from so many sources...

Concerned said...

Had it been another drug dealer (who had a rough childhood, feelings of persecution, blah, blah, blah, and all that crap), that did the shooting, he probabably would have been sentenced to "time served" and be walking the streets today. Since it was a parent protecting his own, well that's just "not socially acceptable" and must be made an example of. I trully hope that his appeal is sucessful.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Wow Joanne, I'm not sure what you found offensive in my post but it's rather telling when the second comment tries to link the War in Afghanistan with a bogus "parable".

Firstly, I could go on about how this "war on Terror" is a sham and how easily hoodwinked some are. The solution to "kill them all" is rather a weak argument. Aren't they also people, our have some been so brainwashed to demonize to this extend?

The analogy is false because when you join the Army, you should be fully aware that you maybe called to duty and you may be killed. If you are ready to take that risk, then work somewhere else. It's rather simple....

The kind of rhetoric from "neo conservative" is indicative of the troglodyte thinking endemic to NeoCons...


I find that the sentence recommendation is just. You have to look at the details of the case:
- the father should of been able to "control" his daughter better. She was 16 and he was the legal guardian.
- no matter label you put to the victim, it was murder or manslaughter on the part of Walker. For a party of "law and order", Cons seems to make many exception for their pet peeves...

Playing the "think of the children" card, while it tugs at the emotions, does not negate the act of killing...

Brian said...

Ten Years? I'd do it!

Joanne, you can go around with a gun in your over sized pants, killing people walking down the street, and they'll bend over backwards to be lenient. But take the law into your own hands? The fine folks in the legal business get touchy about that.

Now it affects them, thus, they'll be as harsh as they can.

Brian said...

I'm sure the Dad was at the end of his rope

From what I read, the Dad didn't even remember doing it. For anyone else, that's temporary insanity.

By the way, he's 50 years old, so it's possible a ten year sentence is a life sentence.

Brian said...

troglodyte thinking endemic to NeoCons

Yawn!
I just stopped reading, hope you weren't making a point.

Anonymous said...

For your edification, here is the law. Homicide is second degree murder when the killer intended to kill the victim, but did not form that intent until the homicide occured (in other words, there was no planning and deliberation). Here there was planning and deliberation, which should have resulted in a conviction for first degree murder, which would have resulted in a sentence of life without parole for 25 years. In fact, this guy got off lucky with a conviction for second (much like that farmer who killed his severly disabled daughter).

He could have been found guilty of manslaughter if the jury had found that he was emotionally unbalanced that he did not have the capacity to form the intent to kill, but clearly they did not find that. I think that rather than rush to judgement about the jury's decision we should accept that they were the ones who heard all the evidence, and they came to the correct decision.

There is no law in Canada that allows justifiable homicide. If you do not like the decision then I suggest you lobby your MP's to change the laws to allow murder whenever conservatives feel the victim does not deserve to live anyway.

Comments like this:

"Had it been another drug dealer (who had a rough childhood, feelings of persecution, blah, blah, blah, and all that crap), that did the shooting, he probabably would have been sentenced to "time served" and be walking the streets today. Since it was a parent protecting his own, well that's just "not socially acceptable" and must be made an example of. I trully hope that his appeal is sucessful."

and:

"Joanne, you can go around with a gun in your over sized pants, killing people walking down the street, and they'll bend over backwards to be lenient. But take the law into your own hands? The fine folks in the legal business get touchy about that."

are simply false and, frankly, demonstrate a real ignorance of the justice system.

Please find me an example of a case where the jury found the killer intended to kill and yet that killer was turned loose to walk the street. Please....

Gayle

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Gayle, the way I understand it, his lawyer is looking into appealing the sentence. We'll see what happens.

Anonymous said...

I hope his lawyer has some interesting constitutional argument to make then, as he will have to argue there is some sort of charter breach by the judge imposing the mandatory minimum sentence, and I do not think he will succeed.

I think it is more likely the lawyer will be appealing the conviction. I understand the judge refused to leave the jury with the option of an outright acquittal, which the supreme court has recently held is incorrect. The lawyer may have an argument that the judge erred by failing to leave this option with the jury, which may have lead the jury to conclude that murder was the proper verdict, rather than manslaughter.

It will be interesting and I will be following this case.

It is not like I do not feel for the man - I deal with many parents who are at their wits end because they have no help to bring their children off the streets and off drugs. This case demonstrates there is a huge need for services and government intervention in this area. I just do not like the real issue being sidetracked into a debate on justifiable homicide.

Gayle

Anonymous said...

I'm not a father, I never have been. What I would do if I had been in the Dad's position, I really don't know for sure. I also doubt if we know all the facts. Hopefully, the factual background will become clear during the appeal phase of this case.

If the judge actually told the jury they had no option but to convict the Dad of something, that is flat-out wrong. I could understand his reasoning, though, if he did. Jury nulification is also flat-out wrong, IMHO. Jurors agree to accept what the judge says is the law, and should not go back on their word. Going back on their word is what at least some of the jurors in the OJ Simpson case SEEM to have done.

I tend to agree with you, cherniak_wtf, about the sentence recommendation. No matter what the moral status of the victim is, murder is murder, and, vigilante justice is an oxymoron.

To brian - the real trouble with taking the law into your own hands is that it puts too many innocent people at risk. It would lead to anarchy. None of us would be safe.

Anonymous said...

brian

Jury nullification is illegal. The Supreme Court said so in a case called Kreiger.

Gayle

argee said...

The jury had no alternative but to find him guilty. Where you have the rule of law no person can take the life of another person unless in self defense and only then if there is no alternative. In other words, if the person being attacked has a way out of the predicament without harm, he must take it. I am sure you will remember the Robert Latimer case, he took the life of his disabled daughter and got life for it in 1993. The supreme court upheld the sentence in January of 2001. A tragic case. The following illustration may be extreme, but look at the streets of Baghdad, there is no rule of law there and the people with AK 47’s and the IED’s decide who lives and who dies……

vicki said...

Gayle...Karla Homolka comes to mind...
oops...she got 12 years,and an education, and killed 3 girls, one victim was her sister so really we can't use her as an example, can we?
Does anyone have the rest of the story on Walker? Was the dealer slipping thru the 'justice' system?

Jason Bo Green said...

It's easy for me to cast judgement - he is deserving of at most a year in jail. I'd let him off with a stern warning, if I was the Imaginary King.

Homolka is a good example. How on earth she can get 13 years for pleasure killing for thrills, while this guy gets 10 for "justifiable" (for lack of a better word) killing is beyond me.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Here's a bit more background from the Regina Leader-Post.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

How on earth she can get 13 years for pleasure killing for thrills, while this guy gets 10 for "justifiable" (for lack of a better word) killing is beyond me.

Jason, what you said there just hit me now! Incredible. She took sadistic pleasure in participating in abusing those girls and was an accomplice in their murders. When you think about that and then this poor father desperate to save his daughter.. Ten years is way too much.

Anonymous said...

Homolka is not a good example because she plead guilty to manslaughter, and had a plea bargain with the crown (to give evidence against her ex-husband). At the time the deal was made no one knew about the video evidence and how much of a role she played. If the police had done their job properly in the first place and found those tapes, there is no doubt Homolka would not have received that deal and she would be doing life in prison right now. As it is, no jury every found that she intended to kill anyone.

I asked for an example where a jury found the accused guilty of second or first degree murder and the accused was allowed to walk out the door. I am going to save you the time though because no such example exists. There are cases where people are charged with murder and are found guilty of something less, like manslaughter, where they do not get lengthy prison sentences, but that is not the same thing as this case.

Again, if you do not like the result you have to lobby to change the law. Personally I do not support that as I oppose vigilante justice.

By the way, even if this man had been convicted of manslaughter he would have got at least 4 years because he used a gun. This is a mandatory minimum sentence for all offences involving a firearm.

Gayle

Anonymous said...

"For your edification, here is the law. Homicide is second degree murder when the killer intended to kill the victim, but did not form that intent until the homicide occured (in other words, there was no planning and deliberation). Here there was planning and deliberation, which should have resulted in a conviction for first degree murder, which would have resulted in a sentence of life without parole for 25 years. In fact, this guy got off lucky with a conviction for second (much like that farmer who killed his severly disabled daughter)."

You seem misinformed.The fathers testimony was he went there to threaten the victim to stay away from his daughter,but things got out of hand and he ended up firing.

This is much the same where someone walks into a store with a gun,ends up killing the clerk,but gets off with manslaughter as they testify they never planned the shooting but circumstances worked out that way.

Anonymous said...

"By the way, even if this man had been convicted of manslaughter he would have got at least 4 years because he used a gun. This is a mandatory minimum sentence for all offences involving a firearm.

Gayle '

Of course he he would have gotten extra time credited for any served in custody,and could have been paroled after serving 2/3rds of his sentence.

Anonymous said...

paulsstuff

I am not misinformed. I recited the law on second degree murder, and I was correct.

On the evidence cited in your post, it is indeed second degree murder. It would only be manslaughter if the father did not intend on killing the victim at the time he pulled the trigger - and frankly I think it would be a hard story to sell.

The example you create at the end of your post is another example of second degree murder. So long as the intent to kill is present at the time the person is killed, it is murder.

Manslaughter happens when there is no intent to kill, but the victim dies anyway. A prime example is the bar fight that got out of hand, leading to the death of the loser of the fight. Another example could be when a home owner brings out a gun to scare someone off, and they accidently shoot the person. So long as there is no intent to kill it is manslaughter.

As for this particular case, let me say, again, that the jury heard all the evidence. They were told that if they believed the father did not intend to kill the victim at the time he shot him, they should find him guilty of manslaughter. Obviously they believed he did have the intent to kill.

We do not know what the jury know so who are we to question them?


As for you second post you are correct. He would have been paroled - probably before he served 2/3.

Gayle

Anonymous said...

Was the "Luger M80 semi-automatic pistol and extra ammunition" registered?

maryjane said...

''Jason, what you said there just hit me now! Incredible. She took sadistic pleasure in participating in abusing those girls and was an accomplice in their murders. When you think about that and then this poor father desperate to save his daughter.. Ten years is way too much.''

Joanne, this ''poor father'' executed another human being. Even if you think 10 yrs.is too much, this is the minimum term mandated by law. Mandated minimum sentences are a favored conservative solution to judicial discretion. Do you part company with your right-wing brethren on this issue?

Anonymous said...

The slippery slope. Saddam Hussein deserved to die for killing numerous people. I'll go along with that.

Did Hayward murder the daughter? No.

Did Hayward rape the daughter? No.

But he corrupted her morals! But he gave her drugs! Nobody else got killed, but Hayward was judged by the oourt of Walker. The court of Walker tried Hayward, found him guilty, sentenced him to death and carried out the execution.

Aaron Unruh said...

I'm of two minds on the subject. On one hand, I wish more people would shoot more drug dealers, just on principle. People that make a living by destroying the lives of others deserve nothing less. I can't imagine that anyone whose family or friends has been impacted by drugs would disagree.

But it's important to remember that the daughter consented to everything that was going on. She decided to take up drugs and to go visit Hayward when she was released. In fact, will she fall back into that lifestyle...this time without her dad around to look out for her?

If the father can't even remember shooting the guy, then the defense of temporary insanity should have been a real sticking point. He probably didn't have the money to go to trial on a long shot. Sad, but that's the way "justice" works here in the civilized world.

Jason Bo Green said...

On one hand, I wish more people would shoot more drug dealers, just on principle.

Even on this grim topic, that still made me laugh - it's very Jack Nicholson.

Although not a technical (as I understand it) "crime of passion", I'd still label this a "crime of passion".

Gayle, I understand what you are saying about the difference between Homolka's case and this one -- however, at the end of the day, justice must be seen to be done, and I don't see it being done here. In the letter of the law, perhaps, but I don't accept that this is what we wish the spirit of the law to be.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Homolka made a deal - reduced sentence for her testimony...

Cherniak_WTF said...

I'd like to kill Conrad Black and other executives that ruin peoples retirements and lives with their cavalier attitude and non-caring for others...
Would I be justified?

Anonymous said...

jason

I agree that this is a sad story. I wonder if the crown offered a plea bargain, and if not, why not. If they did, why didn't he accept it? There is a lot we do not know. I raised the issue of the 4 year minumum term because I wondered if he was offered manslaughter and did not take it because of that.

If there was temporary insanity then I think that evidence would have been called. I also wonder why they did not get expert evidence to show that he was so distraught over all of this that he did not have the capacity to form intent. If there had been any evidence of that the jury could have convicted of manslaughter.

I also wonder if this man did not want to risk being convicted of manslaughter and therefore elected not to call evidence he could not form the intent to kill. If that is the case, then I think our sympathy for him is misplaced.

At the end of the day we simple do not have all the facts, and we never will have them.

Let me go back to what I said earlier - what we should take from this case is that parents need more help from health care professionals so they can help their drug addicted children.

Gayle

Anonymous said...

"As for this particular case, let me say, again, that the jury heard all the evidence. They were told that if they believed the father did not intend to kill the victim at the time he shot him, they should find him guilty of manslaughter. Obviously they believed he did have the intent to kill"

Gayle,you are misinformed.His lawyer is appealing,one of the reasons being the judge instructed the jury they could only find him guilty or not guilty of 2nd degree murder,and manslaughter was not an option.

Anonymous said...

2nd degree murder and manslaughter were an option - you are incorrect on that point. Why else would the jury find him guilty of second degree murder???

The issue is that the judge told thejury they could not find him not guilty. I suspect that is why there will be an appeal.

Gayle

Anonymous said...

Gayle,the judge instructed the jury to find him guilty/not guity of 2nd degree murder,and told them to rule out manslaughter.

That is the reason for appeal.Without the judges instructions the jury very well may have found him guilty of manslaughter,but were told not to consider it.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Let me go back to what I said earlier - what we should take from this case is that parents need more help from health care professionals so they can help their drug addicted children.

Gayle, I agree with you there. That was a pretty extreme "invention" on the part of the father. On the other hand, since we don't have all the details, we probably shouldn't judge his actions. I don't know what I would do with my back up against the wall and my child's life in danger. I don't think any parent really knows that until they are faced with that kind of situation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Joanne.

Anon, here is the quote from the article Joanne links to:

"Bodnar told the court Thursday night that Pritchard had erred in her charge to the jury when she told them that acquittal was not an option and they must find Walker, 50, guilty of either manslaughter or first-degree or second-degree murder."

If this is true, then the jury rejected manslaughter. The appeal may be on the fact the judge told the jury they could not find him not guilty. This violates the SCC decision in Kreiger.

Gayle

Cherniak_WTF said...

All the Connies wanted mandatory sentences for Gun Crimes.
So why are you backing up in this case Joanne?
How will you twist your logic here?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

All the Connies wanted mandatory sentences for Gun Crimes.

First all, that's a bit of a generalization, isn't it? Secondly, I believe that the proposed legislation refers to repeat offenders.

If this guy served a short sentence, and then went out and started gunning down every drug dealer he could find, I would say he needs to be locked up for a long time.

Anonymous said...

"Any decent parent would give up their very lives to keep their children safe. What is 10 years compared to that?"...

Words of truth. Mr. Walker protected his daughter, something society was unable to do. It is possible that the dope dealer may have been brought up on charges at some time but only after doing harm to Walker's child. If ten years is society's price for do-it-yourself justice, Walker likely sees it as cheap and infinitely worth it.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Hooligan, I agree. Part of the problem is urgency to raise the age of consent to 16. Bill C-22 is only at first reading as far as I can see.

I understand that there was an 8 year age span between the daughter and her "boyfriend", and that she moved in with him when she was 15.

We need more laws with teeth for the sake of the children and their parents.