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Child killer gets life - but should his crime have happened in the first place?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
This is a story local to me. Last June, a little eight-year-old girl was abducted, and then raped and murdered in a disabled toilet in a Perth shopping centre. Her ordeal lasted less than 10 minutes, but was indescribably brutal - amongst many other injuries, her arm was broken during the attack. She was also stripped naked and raped. She was found by her 14-year-old brother.

Her killer is a 23-year-old man, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome. This I believe was only discovered as a result of psychiatric examination after his arrest. He did confess to the crime, but cannot remember it - instead he sees `snapshot' images in his head of himself and the girl.

The reason I am posting this, though, is because in 2003 he was arrested over a similar attack, only the little girl escaped. The charges were dropped in this case, because of the very questionable police interview at the time of his arrest.

Now, evidence came out in the trial that found that a bloodstain on his shorts from the incident in 2003 matched that of his escaped victim. This blood was only tested this year. Had this been tested at the time, he would have either been put in prison, or his Asperger's would have been discovered, his family and the community would have been made aware of him, and things would have probably happened very differently from then on. It is hard to doubt that his victim would still be alives and happy today, had those charges from four years ago not been dropped.

Also entered into evidence was a bag found in his wardrobe that contained duct tape, rope, photographs and names of little girls, and a map from his house to that of a named little girl's house. All very compelling evidence that this killer intended to strike again - if not to kill, then definitely to commit acts of sexual depravity with children.

The initial charges in 2003 were dropped because the police significantly intimidated the accused, and forced a confession. The charges were dropped by our Director of Public Prosecutions - the equivalent of your District Attorney.

My question to you is this. Who is to blame? Our case histories are full of wrongful convictions due to this kind of behaviour by police. However, it does lead one to wonder how many criminals have also been let loose because of this kind of behaviour by police. So, are the police to blame? Or the DPP who dropped the charges? Should the charges have remained, but the police been punished? Should further investigation been undertaken to collaborate this man's confession - which would have led to a conviction, whilst still reprimanding the officers involved in obtaining the confession?

It is my view that a grave error has been made by both the police and the DPP. The police need to stop doing this kind of thing, but further investigation certainly seemed warranted in this case, without dismissing the charges out of hand. However, any conviction as a result of questionable police tactics would have been instantly overturned on appeal, so perhaps the DPP had no choice. I think, though, that even if a conviction was overturned, this man would have been watched and monitored, and a little girl would not today be dead - a terrifying, brutal and vicious death. However, I don't know that it is ethical to manipulate the justice system in such a fashion, either. The means does not always justify the end, although I find it hard to feel that it wouldn't in this case.

What do you think?
post #2 of 14
blame- the guy who did it
and if you relly want to Director of Public Prosecutions
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Oh of course - the guy who did it! But, would he have done it had this first episode not been so badly botched? Would he have had the opportunity? I guess we'll never know - but I really think the chances are he wouldn't. I know you can never predict the future - maybe it would have been another little girl at another time in another place. Maybe, if you want to get really fatalistic, it was this little girl's time, and if she wasn't murdered, she may have been hit by a car, or she may have fallen over and cracked her skull. I don't know - nobody can. But I certainly think that things should have been handled differently initially. But we all have 20/20 vision in hindsight, don't we?
post #4 of 14
once people kill like that they tend to be a long cooling off period then the urge hits again. At least that does seem to be the pattern.
post #5 of 14
At the end of the day, if the guy was convicted in 2003 of lesser charges of assault or kidnapping, he would probably be given what I would consider a lenient sentence (anyone who assaults an innocent child should be locked away for life) and he could have gone out and done the exact same thing on release. Even if the community was aware of him, what's to stop him going to a different city? What happened to this poor little girl is horrific and yes, you could say it's the system's fault for not getting him off the streets sooner but I think he would have found a way to kill regardless.

Maybe if he had been given a psychiatric evaluation at the time things would be different but we all know our system is far from perfect. I'm not defending the system as I'm completely disillusioned at this point, but I wouldn't necessarily blame the authorities in this case.
post #6 of 14
At the end of the day its still the guy that did it.

Even if he served his time in jail for the 2003 rape, it still would have been a lesser sentence since the victim got away: it's wasn't murder. All that would have happened in the end is that things would have gotten delayed, he would have never been treated for Asperger's, and so once he was out, another little girl would have gotten the attack adn possibly murdered.

Then X years down the line you would have posted this thread similarly however focusing on the fact that he was never diagnosed with Asperger's until x years later.

If you want someone else to blame right now, blame the person that forced the Director of Public Prosecutions to drop the case in 2003.
post #7 of 14
Sarah, you can drive yourself nuts thinking about stuff like this.

I just cannot even imagine what the police that have to interrogate people for crimes like this must go through. Heck, look at the other thread here where people want that woman who tortured a kitten beaten to within an inch of her life. It would be soooo hard to hold yourself back I would think.
Now those involved in making the mistakes will be haunted by this for the rest of their lives. We are human and we make mistakes.

I'm not really familiar with that disease but I bet it is no excuse for being a pervert.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Oh no - it's not an excuse. My nephew has Asperger's and he's the sweetest little boy. But he is being treated and has therapy and a warm, supportive and loving family. And he's only 9. Perhaps had this man had the same kind of help he wouldn't have had to use violence as an outlet for his frustrations, but who knows? You can never say.

Now, there have been developments. There is being an official enquiry held into the actions of the police that led to the charges being dropped in 2003. And the police commissioner has come out and said publicly (and I can't believe this) that he is taking responsibility for the death of this little girl. I think that's an incredible admission and I also think that he shouldn't have done it. He is trying to satisfy the sense of community outrage that has gone on over this crime - but undermining the police force is not the way to do it. Whatever happened to looking after your own? I think that this was a mistake, on his behalf.

As you say, Cindy - jeesh, they're only human. I can't imagine how bitter and twisted being a cop would make me. My brother-in-law (father of the nephew with Asperger's) is a police officer - high-ranking now, he doesn't work the streets anymore - but he has become much more cynical and pessimistic over the years. He's a lovely guy, but it's changed him. The family has said that he used to have the attitude of `innocent until proven guilty' but over the years through his work and what he's seen it's become more `guilty until proven innocent'. It's a soul-destroying job, I would imagine.

I haven't seen him since this all happened so I haven't been able to ask him what he thinks, but he heads up the department of our police force that deals with complaints against police, so I'd imagine he's had a LOT to do with this case.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva! View Post
Perhaps had this man had the same kind of help he wouldn't have had to use violence as an outlet for his frustrations, but who knows? You can never say.
No, I don't believe that at all. He may have Asperger's, but there's something else deeply wrong with him, and it's not related to AS at all. having Asperger's doesn't make you violent. I am undiagnosed at this point (I'm working on that), but there is a great possibility that I have Asperger's. Since I am undiagnosed, obviously, I have never gotten help for it.

This pervert is a sick individual who happens to also have Asperger's. Asperger's doesn't make you black out, and then brutally rape and murder little girls.

For those not familiar with this disorder, Asperger's Syndrome is a high-functioning form of Autism. Those with AS have problems with social interaction, but are usually highly intelligent. They also will sometimes intensely focus on a particular subject, like obsessive compulsive disorder. Not like pedophiles with children, but gathering all the information one can on one subject, such as World War II planes, for example. In my childhood I became an amateur expert on the subject of vampires, which started at age 8.

Asperger's, even if untreated, does not make a person violent.

Tricia
post #10 of 14
If he got away with what he did in 2003, then his family obviousely know it. Why didn't THEY do something for him, if the justice system couldn't.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
I didn't say Asperger's makes you violent - but I wasn't clear on what I meant.

I meant that being undiagnosed his whole life, he probably had social, intellectual and relational difficulties - as does anyone with AS. These kinds of things can manifest themselves in several ways. My little nephew who has AS becomes violent when he is sooooo frustrated that he cannot manage any other way. He either hurts himself or he becomes violent with his parents. My two other nephews from my former marriage who both had autism were also very violent when they were highly frustrated.

People without such illnesses can also manifest their frustrations through violence. Little kids can scream and shout and kick and bite when they feel thwarted in their attempts to express themselves. Violent outbursts due to difficulties managing your frustrations and attempts to communicate are very common - in people who are ill and people who aren't. So, no, I'm not saying AS makes you violent, I'm saying that the frustrations that he must have gone through his entire life, as a result of his illness, may have led him to manifest it in a violent way.

I also believe that he has other issues that have nothing to do with his AS. He is a paedophile, obviously, and I doubt that this is in any way related. I do wonder if he was abused (sexually or otherwise) as a child. I also wonder what his family life and upbringing were like. I think his inability to communicate and his underlying issues and his AS and his other issues were ALL contributing factors to his behaviour. I also think he (like others who commit these kinds of crimes) is just somehow wired the wrong way. It's a combination of lots of things.

I didn't mean to sound as though I was blaming his AS for this. I think it's just a contributing factor to his overwhelmingly miserable life and serious problems.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva! View Post
I didn't say Asperger's makes you violent - but I wasn't clear on what I meant.

I meant that being undiagnosed his whole life, he probably had social, intellectual and relational difficulties - as does anyone with AS. These kinds of things can manifest themselves in several ways. My little nephew who has AS becomes violent when he is sooooo frustrated that he cannot manage any other way. He either hurts himself or he becomes violent with his parents. My two other nephews from my former marriage who both had autism were also very violent when they were highly frustrated.

People without such illnesses can also manifest their frustrations through violence. Little kids can scream and shout and kick and bite when they feel thwarted in their attempts to express themselves. Violent outbursts due to difficulties managing your frustrations and attempts to communicate are very common - in people who are ill and people who aren't. So, no, I'm not saying AS makes you violent, I'm saying that the frustrations that he must have gone through his entire life, as a result of his illness, may have led him to manifest it in a violent way.

I also believe that he has other issues that have nothing to do with his AS. He is a paedophile, obviously, and I doubt that this is in any way related. I do wonder if he was abused (sexually or otherwise) as a child. I also wonder what his family life and upbringing were like. I think his inability to communicate and his underlying issues and his AS and his other issues were ALL contributing factors to his behaviour. I also think he (like others who commit these kinds of crimes) is just somehow wired the wrong way. It's a combination of lots of things.

I didn't mean to sound as though I was blaming his AS for this. I think it's just a contributing factor to his overwhelmingly miserable life and serious problems.
Oh, don't worry, I knew what you meant! But I thought that it could be misunderstood by those unfamiliar with AS.

I agree I could contribute, as well as other factors. It's hard to act different from others for reasons you don't understand and can't fix. I also wonder if he was molested as a child.

I'm also just a little hyper-senstive because it seems that whenever AS is brought up in the media it is connected with violence and violent crime like it's directly connected or a symptom or something.

Tricia
post #13 of 14
This is such a tragic situation all around.

I'm sure the man who dropped this case is extremely sorry. Is he the one that's taking responsiblity for the little girl's death? To some extent I agree with his statement. He is partially responsible since he made a very bad judgement call after the first attack.

On the other hand the person who is most responsible is the perpetrator, ever if he has many disadvantages as an individual. I hope it is possible for him to get some of the training he needs to change and become a better person. Pedophiles don't change though a few learn to not act on their desires. At least that's how I understand it.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
I agree - just tragic, no matter how you look at it. And no, it wasn't the DPP who made the statement, it was the WA Police Commissioner. Still, a big call - and a very humble one, I think, too.
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