Wednesday, July 27, 2005

CNN.com - Death row inmate's retardation trial continues - Jul 27, 2005 

CNN.com - Death row inmate's retardation trial continues - Jul 27, 2005

I have a problem. Now, if i were a braver man, I would go on the 'Liberal Confessional' on Air America Radio's Morning Sedition, and confess breaking with liberal tenants, but i'll just settle for this in the mean time.

I thought casually after reading the headline, that this was going to be the sort of thing that makes me look down on the Texas judiciary, but it turned out that about half way through reading the story, i found no reason to laugh. This story i have posted from CNN is about a man who has been sentenced to death for murder during the course of a robbery of a 21 year old Air Force airman by the name of Eric Nesbitt.

I met Eric Nesbitt when we attended nursery school, i was 4 years old, he was 5. We were both wearing ski masks, (cause it was cold and in upsate NY cold has a meaning that most folk where i live now don't understand) so i didn't see his face until later. Somehow, while waiting in line to go sledding behind the old stone church, we started to fight. Fight like 4 year olds do, not over anything serious i'm sure, i can't remember why. (It might have been about who was cooler; Starbuck from Battlestar Gallatica or Buck Rogers, but i won't commit to that.)

We spent the rest of the day in the nursury school equivalent of detention, which probably meant we were forced to stand in the courner for a length of time or some such. After detention, I was reintroduced to Eric by my cousin, who had met him previously. Eric and my cousin were to become best friends over the years, and sometimes they would let me tag along with them. Over time, it was just expected that Eric would be at my cousin's house. After not too long, he was considered part of the family at large.

Eric enlisted in the Air Force after high school. He came home every now and again to visit his family and friends. I can't quite recall the last time i spoke with him, we were probably up to something fun. We usually were when we were all together.

The last time i saw him... I remember that well. It was on CNN. Breaking news. His body was discovered off a back road in Virginia. The police quickly broke down the investigation, and caught his killers, and for that i give them credit. But the last time i saw Eric, the last time Eric's family saw him, the last time my cousin and his family saw Eric, was on a CNN breaking news report featuring a picture of Eric, terrified, with a gun in his side, from the ATM machine the killers made him use just before they made him drive away to that back road. Everyone i knew was in tears.

I can surely remember Eric vividly from when we were growing up. He was kind of techni-color actually with the bright red hair and the freckles. I went with him and my cousin on adventures of sorts. We had a lot of good times. But since this afternoon, i cannot get the image from that ATM machine out of my head.

Daryl Atkins, the man whose fate is in question in Virginia, along with William Jones, Atkin's accomplice who is serving a life sentence for testifying against him, were sitting home all day drinking and smoking pot while Eric was at work. Atkins and Jones ran out of beer and decided to go to the convienience store. Upon arriving, they realized they did not have enough money for beer. They tried to pan-handle the money with no luck. When that failed, they decided to take the money. Eric came out of the store and they forced him into the his truck. They took all the money that he had on him which was about $60, and made him drive at gun point to the bank to use the ATM. They had him withdraw $200 while sticking the gun in his side, which was caught on tape. They then forced him to drive to a back road and get out of the car. Atkins shot my friend 8 times while Jones held him still. The police didn't have much trouble tracking them down with the evidence they had; the picture from the ATM machine, a hospital visit for Jones who also took a bullet when Atkins fired on Eric, and Eric's brand new truck in Atkin's drive way.

This was the first time in my life that someone i knew died from violence, but not the last. As such, i hope you don't think less of me for having been fine with the death penalty.

The matters weighing on this case i won't go into at the moment. I'm just not up to it. I feel bad i can't be the progresive in this instance, and worse when i think of Eric.

I have to think for abit before i continue.


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