Early in my career as a lawyer, I took on one of those cases that seemed to involve several shady characters and all kinds of complicated legal issues. In other words, it seemed like the perfect case for a young lawyer, full of learning experiences. Several months later, I found myself regretting this decision for more than one reason.
Without getting too specific, the case involved a man who was a convicted child molester and was quite open that he planned on molesting children again in the future. This man wasn’t a party in the case, but he was the main reason the case even existed in the first place.
After the trial, but before the judge had made a verdict, my client called me to tell me that the convicted sex offender had started to leave threats on his voicemail; threats about death and future child molestation. Eventually those threats were no longer being directed solely at my client. Some of them were now directed at me and they involved references to my children.
I had never really been threatened before. There were times in high school where other guys made threats about fights and stupid things like younger males do. Those threats were never taken seriously. If two guys are going to end up in a fist fight in high school, they were just going to fist fight right then and there. Threats just meant that both kids knew they’d be in big trouble if their mothers found out that they wanted to fight on the school playground.
This case was the first time that I faced a real threat and it really bothered me. After I spent the day wondering whether I should tell Casey that her child had been threatened, I decided that she needed to know. I explained some of the generalities of the case so as not to break confidentiality requirements and I asked Casey to make sure to pay close attention to when Addie was playing in the cul da sac. It seemed obvious to me that if this guy was going to follow through on his threats, his only chance at Addie would be while she was out playing in the circle.
We spent the next month closely watching our daughter. Then a few months passed and our concern lessened. I’m not sure how long we worried about the threat until we chalked it up as nothing more than a bitter man making threats that he had no intent of acting on.
Deep down, however, I feared this man. I had learned things about him that made me want to bypass the justice system and lock him up for good before someone died. This man loved violence. He loved to watch violence and he loved to commit violence. I heard from children who had been around this man that he loved to smack dogs on the side of the head with a bat just to watch them die. Someone like that is seriously deranged, and I figured it would only be a matter of time before he killed a human being.
One day while I was in criminal court on another case, this man showed up to court for a hearing on a fine. As he sat at the hearing table and talked to the judge, I leaned over to an attorney acquaintance and told him that I guaranteed that the man talking to the judge would eventually kill someone. In my mind, it was as sure as paying taxes. It was just something that would absolutely happen in the future.
I’m sad to say that my guarantee came true. My guarantee wasn’t even a year old before this man killed one of his friends. He was arrested for murder and he now sits in jail awaiting his trial. Hopefully once his trial is over he will sit in one of Indiana’s prisons where he will hopefully remain for the rest of his life.
While I’m glad that I now know Addie is safe from this person, I hate that another person had to lose his life for it to happen.
Photo Credit: Flickr
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