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Database Finds Fugitive After 35 Years 459

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the can-run-but-cannot-hide dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Guardian has a story on a woman who was claims she is innocent and was apprehended 35 years after escaping prison by a computer database created by the Department of Homeland Security. Linda Darby was convicted of killing her husband in 1970 and sentenced to life at an Indiana prison but escaped two years later by climbing over a barbed-wire fence at the Indiana Women's Prison. She knocked on a stranger's door in Indianapolis, telling the woman who answered that her cuts and scratches were from a fight with her boyfriend. In Indianapolis she met the man who would become her third husband and moved to his hometown of Pulaski, where they raised their two children and watched eight grandchildren grow up. As Linda Jo McElroy, she used a similar date of birth and social security number to her real ones which allowed a computer database created by the Department of Homeland Security to identify her. Darby says she is innocent and fled prison because she did not want to serve time for another person's crime."
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Database Finds Fugitive After 35 Years

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  • Of course... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by azuredrake (1069906)
    Of course, even if she was innocent of murder, she's now guilty of whatever charge Indiana has on its books for escaping from prison...
    • Re:Of course... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @08:36AM (#21223191)
      There's an additional punishment for escaping prison?

      Our law defines the attempt to escape (or succeeding) as following the basic human urge to be free, thus not punishable by law.

      Of course, what happens is that any chance you had for parole is gone. But there's no additional punishment for breaking out.
      • Re:Of course... (Score:4, Informative)

        by durdur (252098) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @09:04AM (#21223355)
        Escape, and attempted escape is a crime, at least in California, and can result in additional prison time. (I would be surprised if any state did not have similar laws). But of course if you were already in for life, you can't get additional time.
        • But of course if you were already in for life, you can't get additional time.
          They could make it consecutive and it could make a difference for purposes of when she could be paroled.

          Of course, in this situation it probably wouldn't make much difference, since she is so old now and only served 2 years of her sentence after her conviction.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Squalish (542159)
        Google says:
        Mexico's law does that, but escaping from [certain] US prisons will draw charges and if convicted, tack a few years onto your sentence.
        • Re:Of course... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Squalish (542159) <Squalish AT hotmail DOT com> on Saturday November 03, 2007 @09:09AM (#21223389) Journal
          And I quite like Mexico's philosophy on the policy [pulitzer.org]
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Das Modell (969371)
            Their policy is insane and dangerous. Why do rapists and psychopaths deserve freedom at the expense of the safety of others?
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward
              I don't think that's relevant, the point is when caught they won't face extra charges for escaping. See? That wasn't so hard, was it? Thinking can be fun.
        • by Daimanta (1140543)
          Wow, doesn't really matter if you have to sit in jail for the rest of your live, does it?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        In my state, a person convicted of a felony who escapes from prison can be charged with the crime of Escape. If they are then convicted of the escape, they can be sentenced up to an additional ten years.

        If "basic human urges" could not be punished, prostitution would be legal in every state.

      • When you are convicted by a jury in the United States of a felony, you loose a number of rights by operation of law. You loose your right to freedom by having to go to jail, you loose your right to hold property, by having to compensate the victim and the state, and often, your right to vote. The reason why this is "ok" is because you lost these rights after "due process of law".

        Escaping from jail is a serious criminal offense with serious additional penalties. There is no statute of limitation concerns
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by deftcoder (1090261)
          When talking about things related to the law, it may help to be a bit more articulate in your speech.

          'Loose' = the opposite of 'tight', 'to lose' = the opposite of 'to win' or 'to gain'.

          Other than that, good post.
      • by Descalzo (898339)

        Our law defines the attempt to escape (or succeeding) as following the basic human urge to be free, thus not punishable by law.

        That's cool. Our law defines the attempt to murder (or succeeding) as following the basic human urge to remove scum from the face of the earth, thus not punishable by law.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Elemenope (905108)

          When asked, the defendant proffered his reasoning: "He just needed killin'." There was a murmur of agreement in the court, and the judge nodded approvingly. The DA, desperately trying to remain expressionless, braced himself and stood up; this was going to be a toughie.

      • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @07:26PM (#21227619) Homepage Journal
        Last time i looked, in Indiana, yes there is additional punishment for escaping.

        Oddly enough, this woman led a seemingly normal crime free life for 35 years. Perhaps she was innocent in the beginning like she claims, as its really hard for a criminal to go cold turkey.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      she's now guilty of whatever charge Indiana has on its books for escaping from prison...

      This case brings into question the whole purpose of prison. The criminal escape charges should be dropped if the idea behind prison is actually to reform the prisoner. It sounds like this lady lead a mainstream productive life, which should be the point of prison. Now if the real purpose of prison is a juvenile sense of revenge or to support the prison industrial complex, then by all means let's throw her back in and h
  • by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Saturday November 03, 2007 @08:20AM (#21223131) Journal
    The country is now safe from terrorist grandmothers!
    • by Vitriol+Angst (458300) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @08:48AM (#21223263)
      So, the REVENGE is complete.
      She managed to live as a productive citizen, have kids, and pay taxes -- but now at 65, the genius database that is going to let no small-time criminal get away has caught her. This is just sad. I don't think any of us really want a perfect tracking system -- we want good enough justice and better courts.

      I remember that my brother used to mess around with drugs in high school. He never got caught, but had some "therapy" when my parents found out. They don't have this for poor people -- they just go to jail. Now my brother makes over $250,000 and runs the SouthEaster division of some big company -- a productive citizen. If the system had caught him, he'd be an unemployable deadbeat, and probably dealing with depression and recidivism like all the other folks. We like to think that we are different -- but opportunity makes a HUGE difference to your outcomes in life.

      I'm glad when some mass murderer gets caught -- but I'm not so sure about this lady. Her life is over -- innocent or not. And it won't help anyone but to keep the employment of prison guards up. Do you know these mega-prisons have lobbyists now and that's where we got most of the push for mandatory sentences and 3 strikes and you are out?
      • by sjbe (173966) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @08:57AM (#21223307)

        the genius database that is going to let no small-time criminal get away has caught her. This is just sad.


        So basically you are saying murder is OK. Wow. Innocent until proven guilty but that takes some really... interesting thinking to claim that murder is somehow forgivable.
        • by kaiser423 (828989) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @10:07AM (#21223747)
          No, he's saying that this massive database that spies deeply into our lives that's supposed to catch terrorists is now catching little 'ol grandmas (who killed a person, but is not a terrorist), and that we're supposed to be happy about it. I am not.

          I would rather have her free on the street than lose some of my civil liberties. She didn't re-commit crimes, and she led a good life. She did/does deserve to be in jail, but this database is obviously not being used in the context that it was expected to be used in, and that's disturbing.

          If you've ever watched an old western, or any outlaw movie -- there's a very romantic idea in America of old criminals righting their ways by themselves, relocating and turning into great, good productive citizens. Then in the end of the movie, some asshole sheriff shows up and drags the ex-criminal back into court/jail to the sadness of the whole town who then rallies behind him. So, yea, internally a lot of people are conflicted -- this person should be in jail, but there's some part of the rough and tumble American ideal inside of people still that says she made it right and should be left alone. She needs to go back into jail for precedence reasons (can't just let her go once they've found a jail-bird), but a part of me is disgusted at the way she was caught -- by this TERRORIST DATABASE, and not by something that would have happened if the government wasn't actively data-mining in places that they normally wouldn't be if it weren't for 9/11/PATRIOT ACT/Bush.

          So yea, lock up the criminals (even better, rehabilitate), but don't justify a massive infringement in civil liberties by saying that it has allowed you to lock up grandma.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2007 @02:40PM (#21225713)
            Actually, she doesn't deserve to be in jail.

            You may think I'm crazy for saying that, of course, but I'm not a fan of the retributive concept of "justice" that countries like the USA use. For me, prison has two functions, and none beyond these: 1) keep society safe from those criminals who're actually dangerous; 2) reeducate criminals for the purpose of enabling them to function as productive members of society again.

            Now look at this case. 1) Is it necessary to put her in jail to keep society safe? No; she's been living for 35 years without doing anything, and possibly never was a threat at all, depending on whether she was indeed rightfully convicted or not (something I naturally can't comment on). 2) Is is necessary to reeducate her? No; she's already become a productive member of society again.

            Therefore, putting her in jail is counterproductive and wrong - QED. Unless, of course, one believes in using prison to take revenge on people, but that's not something I do (although I do realise I'd probably be in the minority if I lived in the USA).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jimicus (737525)
          interesting thinking to claim that murder is somehow forgivable.

          Excuse me while I play devil's advocate here - am I to understand that your point of view is that life imprisonment should mean life?

          Because if not, then the idea that society should never forgive a murderer to my mind implies that anyone who is let out of prison after serving such a term should never be able to find work, should be denied even the most basic of social housing or benefits and should essentially have no choice but to wind up liv
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nEoN nOoDlE (27594)
          Prison is supposed to be used as a reformation tool. She escaped and has lived a criminal free (ie: reformed) life ever since. So what is the good of locking her up right now going to do? Reform her some more? Murder might not be forgivable (unless you have the money and power) but locking her up won't bring the dead guy back. It will only cause more strife in this world, since her husband will lose his wife, her children will lose their mother, and her grandchildren won't know their grandmother, and she's
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by LilGuy (150110)
          Why isn't it called murder when the president slaughters people? Every single president we've had has killed at least 1 person. Yet they roam free and give speeches and get applause.

          That's a hell of a double standard there.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Alascom (95042)
            >Why isn't it called murder when the president slaughters people?

            Because most rational and intelligent people understand the difference between killing and murder. Sorry you don't have the intellectual capacity to fit into the rational and intelligent category.

            If I terminate your life while you are attempting to shoot children on a playground, that is killing in defense of others.
            If I terminate your life because you are suffering horribly from terminal cancer, that is killing for mercy.
            If I terminate yo
      • When prison helps (Score:3, Interesting)

        A guy at our church used to be a domestic terrorist. He had joined a KKK group. When he was finally caught and imprisoned [booknotes.org], he had bombed dozens of black churches and synagogues. Initially, prison made him worse. But during a long stretch of solitary confinement, he finally took stock of his life and asked God to help him change into a better person.
    • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @08:51AM (#21223281) Homepage
      Oh, give me a break. You can discuss if this is a wise use of money or helps against terrorists, but if as a side effect an escaped murderer is caught and brought to justice, why are you trying to spin that as a bad thing? I really couldn't care less if she's been a saint since she escaped or if she claims to be innocent - a jury of her peers, after hearing all the evidence, found her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It's not exactly terribly creative to claim you escaped because you're innocent, you know. I want fugitives, whereever they may be and however long time has passed, to fear that some day they'll be found out and brought to justice. Within a reasonable balance of catching them, bringing them to trial and making sure they don't escape in the first place, that is.

      • There is nothing wrong with capturing escaped murders. The problem is a lack of results with respect to the claimed purpose of the system.

        You may think that solving a few cold cases here and there justifies the loss of civil liberties and expansion of government power that created this story, but I doubt you will find universal consensus for that view.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I want fugitives, whereever they may be and however long time has passed, to fear that some day they'll be found out and brought to justice. Within a reasonable balance of catching them, bringing them to trial and making sure they don't escape in the first place, that is.

        I want all crimes except genocide or crimes against humanity to expire in 20 years tops. "Fugitives" are humans most of all and if they managed to keep themselves out of the hands of law enforcement for 20 years and didn't commit any crime

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by olman (127310)
          I want all crimes except genocide or crimes against humanity to expire in 20 years tops. "Fugitives" are humans most of all and if they managed to keep themselves out of the hands of law enforcement for 20 years and didn't commit any crime apart from the one that expired (and I would say jailbreak is not a continous but singular event), then you can say that pursuing those crimes is probably a colossal waste of money and time.

          Dunno how things work in US of A but around here anything short of murder DOES exp
  • by Funkcikle (630170) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @08:30AM (#21223159)
    The authorities should focus on finding the one-armed man.
  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Saturday November 03, 2007 @08:43AM (#21223235) Homepage
    On the face of it she was found guilty of murder and compounded that by absconding from prison. She claims that she is innocent, but she would say that any way. There is no way that the armchair sleuths on slashdot can come to any realisitic determination of the truth. I fully appreciate that 'the law' is on occasion incorectly applied ... but that is another story.

    What is interesting is that we have this story probably flagged up by the authorities. I suspect that it is to make us think that the ''big government databases'' are a good thing and that we should approve their continued use. What is buried are the stories where these databases have screwed up and inconvenienced (or worse) innocent people.

    • by Large Green Mallard (31462) <lgm@theducks.org> on Saturday November 03, 2007 @08:55AM (#21223297) Homepage
      The databases were created to stop terrorism. If they're being used to chase down anyone the government wants for anything, it's another step toward a police state.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by blind biker (1066130)
      Since she lived 35 years without committing crimes (let alone murder), I think she's innocent. Your actions are who you are.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Splab (574204)
        You can't say just by that that she is innocent of the original crime, however she has shown to be a capable of being a normal citizen working for the greater good, if prison is supposed to correct people and she has shown to be "correct" she should be led out.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Qzukk (229616)
      think that the ''big government databases'' are a good thing and that we should approve their continued use. What is buried are the stories where these databases have screwed up and inconvenienced (or worse) innocent people.

      Agreed. That some escaped convict was caught is certainly good news. The bigger question, since the database "caught" her for using an SSN that was "close" to her old one, is what happened to the other few hundred people whose SSN was a digit off as well?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ex-MislTech (557759)
      http://www.brainwavescience.com/ [brainwavescience.com]

      While not perfect, this has freed other prisoners legally,
      and this could be used to determine her guilt or innocence
      to a very high probability.

      Much more so than just a simple polygraph.

  • by Sanat (702) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @08:44AM (#21223247)
    Back in the 80's I was setting up a call center for the computer company where I worked and one of the steps was to search for duplicate serial numbers and standardize model numbers, customer names, etc. I'm sure anyone who worked with databases understands this process.

    Our databases were regional, so while searching for duplicates a whole computer system suddenly disappeared from the Northeast and mysteriously showed up in Florida. I started researching thinking that the system perhaps was stolen but instead I accidentally uncovered a CIA operation. Don't know if it is still active so I won't say anything else about it except database integration can give insights and glimpses into situations that are at first very transparent.

    This sounds like what caught Linda.
  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Saturday November 03, 2007 @08:46AM (#21223255) Homepage Journal
    The title off the post is irritating.
    The database did nothing. It is a process running on a computer. Information flows in, (potentially useful) information flows out, a suspected criminal is arrested. One could as well claim that the piping system in a house effected the drowning of someone. Water flowed in, water flowed out, and someone died.
    The database is just an occasionally useful tool. The code for it is written by people, and the outputs are intrepreted and acted upon by people.
    Could we eschew this slipshod causal analysis?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kenneth Stephen (1950)
      Au contraire.

      Its the difference between building a house without a hammer, and building a house with one. The hammer didn't hammer the nails; the person did. However, the house wouldn't have gotten built without the hammer because its just too difficult to do it otherwise. And thats the point: the database is a tool that makes the difference between catching some criminals and letting them get away scot-free. The title of the story is exactly right.
  • tricky one (Score:3, Interesting)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @08:54AM (#21223291)
    Tricky one.

    Rather then attempt to clear her name shed escaped from jail and started a new life - a felony in itself.

    On one hand you take the argument that they system has an appeals system designed to right injustice so if she believed she was innocent she should of tried to clear her name, on the other hand you have a possibly inept defense lawyer who seemed not to be dong their job and the possibility that left on her own she would rot in jail.

    It is clear that the police have significant evidence to pin the crime on her, and the original jury clearly thought so. And we only have to facts as stated from TFA that make her seem like a saint based on the new life after the original murder.

    And a justice system only works if all judgments and laws are upheld.

    I am slightly disturbed by the final comment about this database "But there also were other clues that he said he could not talk about." - WTF? has this person never heard of conspiracy theorists? give them a single clue like that and they can invent ten secret organizations by lunchtime.

    • by crossmr (957846)

      It is clear that the police have significant evidence to pin the crime on her, and the original jury clearly thought so
      Yes because historically the police have never gotten lazy and focused on a wrong suspect then done everything possible to make a guilty person innocent. Also jury's have never been mislead by getting a distorted picture through suppressed evidence and a sweet talking prosecutor. While likely, its not "clear".
  • Wrong Message (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ncryptd (1172815) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @09:15AM (#21223415)
    I realize that this is supposed to be a "Look what Big Brother can do for you!" piece -- but is anyone else a little unsettled by what went on? A woman claims her innocence to the point where she breaks out of jail. After escaping, she goes on to live a normal life for 35 years (not harming anyone, and raising children), after which the government re-captures her, and will haul her back to prison to rehabilitate. Given that she spent 35 years on the outside with no further crimes, I'd say that she's pretty rehabilitated already.... but I guess not.
     
     

    She and her husband ran a junk and antiques shop for a number of years, friends said. More recently, Darby worked cleaning houses and sitting with elderly people.


    Whew! Glad we have her off the streets. Thank God for that database....
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ari wins (1016630)
      Hey c'mon, you have to admit that with the present overcrowding at most prisons, someone with her skills is needed. Not everyone is good with a mop, you know. Plus, someone really should sit with the new perp's after their first night of gang sodomization.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      A woman claims her innocence to the point where she breaks out of jail.

      What, only innocent people try and break out of jail? Please.

      Given that she spent 35 years on the outside with no further crimes, I'd say that she's pretty rehabilitated already.... but I guess not.

      So what's your point? If we convict people who MURDER their spouses, we should let them out to see if they can turn their life around? If your sister's husband murders your sister, then escapes, are you OK with just letting him go? I

      • Okay, I'll take the bait.

        I was under the impression that while you may be sentenced to life in prison for a murder, you generally don't stay in prison for your entire life. You eventually get parole for good behavior. In addition, the reason for the justice system is to punish those that do bad (to be a deterrent to others to commit similar crimes) and incarcerate those that are a danger to society. I have a hard time believing that she is a danger to society. As a deterrent to others, I'm not so sure s
      • by Paradise Pete (33184) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @10:50AM (#21224039) Journal
        we convict people who MURDER their spouses

        The sad part is that If she hadn't done it in all caps she might have gotten away with it.

    • Since when did breaking out of prison become some sort of indication that a person was innocent?
    • As another poster here said, there's no way any of us can ascertain if she is really innocent or not. I'm a little more concerned about the cost. In a quick google search, I couldn't find the price tag of this particular database, but I did find this [informationweek.com]:

      One problem that's getting $380 million worth of attention in the president's budget: developing an INS database to identify foreigners who overstay their visits or are considered threats. The database would be linked to other agencies to keep tabs on foreign

    • by McGiraf (196030)
      "Thank God for that database...."

      God is a coder? Shit, we are surely in the Matrix then.
    • by argStyopa (232550) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @10:16AM (#21223801) Journal
      You do understand that she ostensibly MURDERED someone? She didn't just steal his ipod or wreck his car - she MURDERED him.

      "Given that she spent 35 years on the outside with no further crimes, I'd say that she's pretty rehabilitated already.... but I guess not."

      Maybe prison is meant to be *punishment*, and no, I don't think she's done her time if she was in fact guilty.

      Or would you agree that someone who kills YOUR sister, son, cousin, father - and managed to evade capture for 35 years should just be therefore forgiven?
      • Stepping backwards (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @10:39AM (#21223945)
        Maybe prison is meant to be *punishment*, and no, I don't think she's done her time if she was in fact guilty.

        Punishment? No, you mean Revenge.

        Revenge is about hate.

        The supposed purpose of the police system is to ensure that people are free of fear and hate. That we are safe to live in peace. Prison is supposed to remove people from society as long as they pose a threat, and it is meant to rehabilitate people so that they can lead peaceful lives. That is the end purpose of the law. That is the way we protect ourselves.

        Without knowing more about the woman and the life she has lived, we cannot judge. Perhaps she was being abused and her killing the man was an accidental result of self-defense. Or perhaps she was a jealous lunatic. Or perhaps she really was falsely accused. We do not know. But I DO know that revenge is not why I pay taxes. If this woman today poses no threat, if she has become a giving person who helps society, then containing her and ruining her psyche in a prison system which has a lousy track record of actually rehabilitating people, then what has happened here is a step backwards.

        You cannot un-kill people. The past is the past, and it may be very sad. But the future is not well served through revenge and further acts of hate. As Gandhi put it, "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."


        -FL

    • by Kjella (173770)
      Believe it or not, most people only commit murder once. Maybe she found out her husband was sleeping around, blew a fuse and well... Is that ok then? That it was a once-in-a-lifetime crime she won't do again doesn't change the fact that a man's dead and she murdered him. Even if you look away from prison as punishment, there's usually three more recognized reasons for sending people to jail: Rehabilitation, protecting society and determent. Maybe the first two aren't necessary, but sending the message that
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2007 @09:20AM (#21223449)
    I was wondering how it was going...
  • pursuing enemies of the United States. Undoubtedly they also have determined where Osama Bin Laden is hiding?

    I am soooo pleased that we now have tens of thousands of otherwise unemployed white-collar workers working diligently to pursue terrorists such as this woman. If only one such terrorist is found by the trillions of dollars then I think the "War on Terror" must be declared a wild success.

    Sheesh!
  • by twms2h (473383) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @11:00AM (#21224113) Homepage
    Hi,

    if I remember correctly the department of homeland security was created to fight dangers for the national security, that is terrorists. How does a database of Americans fit into this? And why was it used to catch a fugitive prisoner - no matter whether she was was acutally a murderess or not? What's next? Catching people for speeding?

    twm
  • by Colz Grigor (126123) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @12:27PM (#21224711) Homepage
    What concerns me most from this story has nothing to do specifically with the crime or the convict, but with the method that DHS used to make the connection. From this article, it is reasonable to suppose that DHS is performing very complicated analysis to investigate every innocent person they know about with every other person. Ostensibly, Linda Darby was "innocent" until they made the connection that she was originally Linda McElroy. The article suggests that the use of a similar SSN and DoB were the primary means for making the connection. If this is the case, what DHS is doing is unjust and probably unconstitutional. Treating every person as a suspect is a step in the wrong direction.

    What I suspect actually happened is that Linda Darby needed to provide her SSN on some application for something recently and since identity theft has become a major problem over the last decade the agency that took her application found that the SSN belonged to multiple people and forwarded the information to the FBI for possible criminal investigation. This would automatically make Linda Darby a suspect for a crime which would justify the DHS trying to figure out who actually belonged to the SSN in question and who didn't, eventually giving DHS a justification for attempting to make a connection between Linda Darby and Linda McElroy. But the article doesn't go into this sort of detail and probably should.

    ::Colz Grigor

  • Considering... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mad-cat (134809) on Saturday November 03, 2007 @12:49PM (#21224859) Homepage
    Considering she hasn't killed anyone in the time she's been out, I think they should consider the possibility that she is not a danger to society and change the conviction to manslaughter with credit for time served.

    Good job. We caught her. Now let it drop.

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