Suspects should be tried as adults

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 9, 2003

The attorneys representing two men accused of setting a dog on fire and killing it are asking the courts to consider both men as &uot;youthful offenders.&uot;

Both are over the age of 18 and are considered adults in the state of Alabama. They should be considered as adults when they go on trial. If found guilty, they should be punished as adults.

It is hard to imagine why the courts would consider granting such leniency in this case. Both men are accused of taking a dog from its owner, tying it to a bed frame in the woods, pouring lighter fluid on the animal and then setting it on fire, killing the dog.

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Most youngsters don’t engage in these types of acts. Anyone who displays the premeditation and cold-blooded will to do this isn’t a child.

If the pair is granted youth status in the case, they will face lighter sentencing if found guilty and the crime will not appear on their records.

Because this case involves a felony crime and one that resulted in the death of someone’s pet, no leniency is necessary or proper here. If this case can’t be prosecuted to its fullest extent, then what type of crimes deserve harsh penalties?

It is interesting to note that one of the defendants is currently on probation for putting a baby in a freezer. What we have here is someone who has already proven to be a danger to society. Again, why would the court give this person a break?

This case has already drawn the attention of animal rights activists on a national level. While these groups are frequently loud and radical, their concern is still proof that this crime is unusual.

If the court grants youthful status in this case, the animal rights folks will be active and loud. And they would be correct to be offended.

This is one case where the people who are responsible for the alleged crime deliberately carried out a serious and gory act. The attorneys in the case are doing their jobs well and seeking options that will benefit their clients. This is expected, but that doesn’t mean what they’re right.

To not level the maximum punishment in this case is brushing off the crime as a minor incident and we don’t see it that way.