By Marc Klaas
Finally, the thirty-four-month legal marathon known as the Polly Klaas Murder Trial went to the jury at 3:00 pm today. The ultimate fate of Polly's killer is in the hands of six men and six women. One way or another the jury will dispense final judgment and we be able to put this sad chapter of our lives on the shelf to collect dust.
In her final argument, defense attorney Lorena Chandler continuously violates the boundaries of good taste and morality. "When he was arrested he became a symbol of crimes against children. They want you to execute a symbol. They want you to focus on him as an object, not as a person." Prosecutor Greg Jacobs reminds the jury that "public attention was not focused on this case because he is a symbol. It was focused because of the facts of the case." This is just one example of the convoluted logic used to defend the actions of the most hated man in America.
Chandler argues that "Rick's efforts have saved the state of California a lot of money," by working in the machine shop during his last incarceration. She implores mercy because, "He has confessed to crimes he wasn't even accused of: His victims should thank him for that." Then she follows with the rhetorical question. "Who suffers more; the families of the murdered or the families of the missing?" The presumption of this woman is boundless. Having stood in those shoes I cannot definitively answer that question. What I do know is that the families of the missing hold onto hope and the families of the murdered are only able to hold onto memories.
As she has so many times in the past, Chandler tries to shift blame onto the shoulders of the dead patriarch who raised three productive children and one psychopath. "To show mercy is to imitate God. I would like you to show mercy, because Richard Allen Davis is one of God's children." This monster is not God's child. It is God's aberration.
Chandler told the jury to decide "whether you will choose life over death, whether you will choose hope over despair and whether you will choose mercy over vengeance." In other words, give my client all the consideration he failed to offer his victim. This patter of defense attorneys and anti-death penalty advocates ring hollow for those who were not given the choices. We have spent nearly three years considering these options for a monster who chose death, despair and vengeance for his final victim. This trial is not about vengeance. This trial is about crime and punishment.
In closing, Ms. Chandler invokes the legacy of Polly Klaas. "Do not allow her legacy to be one of death. More death does not solve anything. Let the legacy of Polly Klaas be one of mercy." How dare this woman consider Polly's legacy for even one second? That is the job of Polly's family and others working to create a safe society for our children. Lorena Chandler should keep her focus on her target: Denying personal responsibility and creating sympathy for the devil.
KlaasKids Foundation P.O. Box 925, Sausalito, CA 94966
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