Karl Roberts was 35-years-old on May 15, 1999 when he kidnapped, raped and murdered his 12-year-old niece Andi Brewer. His defense was based on a head injury he suffered when he was 12-years-old and lost 15% of his brain, including a portion tied to the ability to understand consequences for one’s actions. The Prosecutor said he knew right from wrong. The jury sided with the prosecution and convicted Roberts of capital murder.
During the sentencing phase of his 2000 trial Roberts declared that, “I want to die.” The judge agreed and sentenced him to death. After the trial he waived his rights to appeal. On May 22, 2003 an automatic appeal resulted in the Arkansas Supreme Court upholding the death sentence by a 6-1 decision.
Hours before he was to be executed in January 2004, Roberts changed his mind and authorized his attorneys to appeal his conviction. A judge later issued a stay of execution. His attorneys argued that “no relevant or contemporaneous mental evaluation” was conducted when Roberts waived his right to appeal, therefore his appeal was invalid. On Valentine’s Day 2013, Andi’s mother sat through yet another hearing on the merits of Roberts’ latest claim.
Perhaps you can imagine the anger that shattered her heart when the Arkansas Supreme Court unanimously agreed with her daughter’s cold blooded killer and reopened the case. I can, because Rebecca DeMauro has been my friend since shortly after her daughter was murdered. She is correctly apoplectic about the fact that the state criminal justice system has allowed Roberts and his defense team to re-victimize her family as they dredge up the horrific and painful memories of little Andi’s tragedy over and over and over.
Jodi Arias is on trial in Maricopa County, Arizona for the brutal June 4, 2008 murder of ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. Her story has changed several times. Initially, she told investigators that she knew nothing about the crime. When confronted with evidence to the contrary she said that she was there, but intruders had broken into Travis’ condo and committed the horrific murder. By the time her trial began Arias’ story had changed yet again. Now, she is claiming self-defense.
In a scheme obviously concocted by Jodi and her able bodied defense team, Arias has spent more than 8-days on the witness stand thoroughly and in great detail assassinating the character of her murder victim. Despite absolutely no evidence to back up her claims she has accused Alexander of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Tragically, he is not able to defend himself because he is dead: he was shot in the face; stabbed 27-times; and nearly decapitated when his throat was slit from side to side.
Travis Alexander’s family and friends pack the court every day. Many have come from California at their own expense to represent their beloved Trevor in the courtroom. They listen with disgust and anger as Jodi’s lawyers lead her through the sewer of her memories…or is it her cold calculation? Unfortunately, Travis’ family cannot respond: they cannot defend Travis’ memory. All they can do is sit stoically, avoid eye contact with the jury, and choke back the screams of outrage that must remain stuck at the back of their throats. If they act out in any capacity they might provide grounds for a mistrial, and then they will have to sit through it all over again: the lies, the accusations, and the character assassination!
Shana Rowan is the Executive Director of USA FAIR, a non-profit organization she founded that is dedicated to defending the indefensible: registered sex offenders. According to her official biography, Shana’s passion for registered sex offenders is personal and very close to her heart. She is engaged to marry a registered sex offender named Geoff. His support gave Shana the strength she needed to leave a long-term abusive relationship. Now his past is making it impossible for them to move on with their lives.
In her biography Ms. Rowan recounts his criminal behavior and portrays her fiancé as the true victim and she totally dismisses the very young half-sister that he serially abused. She argues that she and Geoff are victims of bad policy, and that sex offender registration and community notification laws (Megan’s Law) punish hundreds of thousands for crimes that a very small percentage of people might commit. She forgets that each and every person on the sex offender registration list has been convicted of, not committed as there is a vast distinction, at least one sex crime, almost always against a child or a woman.
Citing studies that demonstrate that sex offenders have a very low recidivism rate Ms. Rowan ignores the best known study of all: the long running Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal. For years, decades or perhaps centuries, high level Church leaders were aware that pedophile priests lurked in dioceses all over the world abusing young children. It was standard practice that pedophile priests, when found out, would be routinely shuffled between parishes and allowed to have continued, unsupervised access to children who they continued to serially rape. After years of investigation the Catholic Priest scandal exploded around the globe. The most significant finding is that cases worldwide reflect patterns of long-term abuse and the covering up and protecting of sex offenders. Given the opportunity, preferential sex offenders will continue to abuse children under the cloak of anonymity.
Megan’s Law is about denying perverts the cloak of anonymity. Each and every young victim, including Geoff’s victim, require years and years of psychological, emotional, and spiritual counseling. Many are hard pressed to put their lives back together, and all endure shame and guilt. Sex offender laws are not about punishing misunderstood men for youthful discretions, they are about protecting children and women from a known threat. Megan’s Law puts a public face on heinous crimes that for most of our history have been America’s dirty little secret.
Each of these three specific situations was enabled by institutions designed to protect and/or nurture the public. Victims and their families are being re-victimized in acceptable, status-quo ways. In one case, the Arkansas State Supreme Court has sided with an admitted baby rapist/killer and his American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) led legal team. Jodi Arias and her defense team decided that her road to redemption is to completely vilify the man she brutally murdered, despite evidence to the contrary. Finally, Shana Rowan cites the ACLU and other so-called social justice organizations as justification for her misguided bloviating.