British tourist murders: Two men at scene; one conviction
Photo from the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
I made some errors in thinking in my last blog while I was contemplating my feelings of missing my jury summons to the Tyson trial where a black man is quickly convicted in killing white men.
- I didn’t have to worry about being kept off the jury because of my views against capital punishment. They were only asking for life in prison.
- With the international media blitz given this crime, it only lasted one week? I wouldn’t have missed my vacation after all.
Whether Tyson was guilty or not, he did not have a fair trial. Plea bargaining (bribery to me, whether legal or not) brought in 5 witnesses to testify for the prosecution and they were fully believed by the jury even though they were adept at lying, crime and jail time themselves. What happened to the defense? I read the accounts. There wasn’t one. There are so many unanswered questions like:
- What were two tourists doing in Newtown? It wasn’t easy to find their way to Gregg Ct. Were they looking for drugs? Women?
- Why were their shirts off? Their pants down?
- Wasn’t there possibly an accomplice?
- How come there was only one black person on the jury?
- Why hadn’t the public defender demanded a more racially fair jury?
Of course I have to compare this trial with the killing of Trayvon Martin, a black man by George Zimmerman, a white/latino man in Sanford, Fl., a little town with a legacy of racism. He hasn’t even been arrested, in spite of nationwide outrage, hoodied protests and accusations of injustice.
The news in Florida has finally taken over the nation’s front pages, for better or worse.
March 20 – Back from Costa Rica and after a few days I’m able to attack the 2 month pile of mail. Glaring in big red letters is JURY SUMMONS March 20 8 am.” Oh shit! That’s today. I’ve missed it by hours’. First I’m kind of glad. I fill out the back with my usual excuse: ‘Just returned from Costa Rica where I live for six months a year and received the summons too late. Sorry.’
March 21 – I read the Sarasota Herald Tribune and realize I would have been one of the prospective jurors for the trial of Shawn Tyson, accused of murdering British tourists J. Cooper and J. Kouzaris. Because of the huge media blitz in the notorious Brit tabloids this trial is being watched around the world and Florida tourism is not happy.
Thoughts rush and tumble through my mind:
- I would have liked to be on this jury. Not like my last experience as a juror, which was a typical whiplash scam.
- They’d never have chosen me anyway: A. I don’t believe in capital punishment. B. Too pro black with my experience teaching in the black community and having close black friends.
- The trial could last a really long time and I’d miss a visit from my California/Costa Rican boyfriend who’s already got a ticket to Florida for the Wannee Festival.
March 22 – Headline reads “Witnesses could present obstacle.” The jury is seated, but prosecutors asked questions like: “What do you think about a witness who receives benefit for testifying?” What? I turn the page and there they are – four witnesses who have already received something for their future testimony: avoided 10 years in prison, received a reduced charge, received a housing waver to move to a safer home or avoided being charged as an accessory. What again? Isn’t this bribery?
from Wikipedia: “The bribe is the gift bestowed to influence the recipient’s conduct. It may be any money, good, right in action, property, preferment, privilege,emolument, object of value, advantage, or merely a promise or undertaking to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity.“
Hmmmm. So this is our democratic system and a right to a fair trial? I always knew this happened – plea bargaining – but this is going too far. Sounds like our judicial system has gone the way of our political system.
And the other murder here in Florida will be the subject of my next blog (which I’ve neglected way too long) – unarmed and black Trayvon Martin being gunned down by neighborhood watcher George Zimmerman. And he’s still not been arrested because of a self defense charge. Huh? Martin only had some Skittles and a bottle of iced tea on him. At least this one has lots of protests.