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Life in Prison or Lethal Injection

Created: 23 April, 2010
Updated: 13 September, 2023
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4 min read

   San Diego and the nation experienced shock and surprise Friday afternoon April16th. Accused child rapist and murderer 31-year-old John Gardner III pleaded guilty to raping and murdering 17-year-old, Chelsea King, a few weeks ago and 14-year-old Amber Dubois over a year ago. Shock…!

   There will be no trial. Gardner will die in prison. Many believe Gardner should have been castrated after his previous conviction of molesting and assaulting a 13-year-old girl. He wasn’t. Instead he spent five years in prison and was then paroled. We now know that he violated parole at least 6 times. Nonetheless, he wasn’t returned to prison. Had he been, he wouldn’t have murdered Chelsea and Amber.

   Yes, this murderer was in California prisons for molesting and assaulting a 13-year-old. After serving five years, he was paroled into our neighborhoods as a registered sex offender. And though he was not permitted to live close to a school, he did.

   Consider that 14-year-old Amber Dubois was last seen walking to Escondido High School. That indicates that Gardner had staked out the school. It doesn’t make sense that he just happened to be there that February 2009 morning by chance and that he just happened to see this 14 year old girl walking alone at 8:00 in the morning outside the school. If a registered sex offender cannot live near a school, can he hang out around one, legally?

   The other and more recent murder victim, Chelsea, regularly jogged in a public park with running trails along the shore of San Diego’s Lake Hodges. Was he restricted from habituating parks? If so, he didn’t care and apparently neither did his parole officer and the entire California Department of Corrections. It has documented 6 parole violations and he was still on the streets.

   California has had strict registration laws passed by the people directly for sex offenders. “Jessica’s Law” comes to mind. Are they enough?

   Other states have passed laws allowing the state to keep sex offenders in civil custody even after they have completed prison sentences. The United States Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of these laws of civil confinement. We know one thing, those retained in civil confinement don’t commit sex crimes; those like Gardner who are allowed to return to the community provably have high rates of recidivism.

   Published reports in California quote Marty Klaas, whose daughter Polly was murdered as saying, “17,000 sexual predators were not mandatorily screened as per the people-passed “Jessica’s Law” before being released.”

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   Most sexual predators don’t kill their victims, thankfully. Those that do are usually trying to cover up their crimes for they don’t wish to be sent back to prison. Proof: John Gardner III.

   So, what do we do?

   Molesting a child under 16 should be a one strike and you’re out crime. We already have three felonies and you’re out law here in California. We should impose two strikes and you’re out for violent crimes and just one strike and you are out for the molestation of a 16 year old or younger child.

   Will such a law fill our prisons causing more to be built? Probably, but lives will be saved. Children would live unmolested normal lives and see proms and college and have families of their own.

   Health and safety are the two primary responsibilities of our government from the federal level on down to the local communities, cities and even school districts. Children, being the most defenseless among us are those that we must protect at all costs. Thus, anyone who molests, rapes, injures or kills a child under 16 must be treated as a capital criminal and either spend the rest of their lives in prison or, if they rape or kill a child, be executed.

   The Gardner case is the perfect argument for the heavy punishment I propose.  The court assigned psychiatrist in Gardner’s original conviction, Dr. Mathew F. Carroll, recommended maximum punishment for Gardner because he showed no “remorse.” Dr. Carroll was ignored. Gardner was on the streets raping and murdering Chelsea and Amber. They would be alive today if he had not been released.

            As to increased prison costs, so what? Isn’t the safety of children worth whatever it costs?

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