Category Archives: Jessica Lunsford

Brief Update on Christopher Barrios Case

There are quite a few Brunswick, Georgia residents – some of whom helped to search for young Christopher Barrios, Jr. – who are insanely furious with the Edenfield Three and their pal for Christopher’s torture and murder.

 

“Insanely” is no understatement.  They are determined to burn down the Edenfield’s mobile home, despite police and Barrios family pleas that they leave the trailer alone.

 

Instead of burning the trailer, which will accomplish no good whatsoever to this situation, I have another suggestion:

 

Volunteer to actively help and/or donate any amount to some really good causes…like:

 

In the aftermath of Christopher’s murder, an ever group of Brunswick citizens have formed the Justice for Christopher Foundation.  They are demanding tougher laws on sex offenders and predators, as well as screaming for justice for Christopher, justice for his family left behind, and doing everything they can to prevent another child from becoming a statistic at the hands of another monster.  “We change the laws, or we change the politicians” is one of their mottos.

 

The foundation’s creators worked closely with the Barrios family, as well as Mark Lundsford (father of Jessica Lundsford and spearhead of Jessica’s Law across our land) to establish the foundation and they’re off to a remarkable start.  They won’t stop until Georgia passes their own Jessica’s Law and then plan to go nationwide to insist the same in other states with their heads in the sand.  Donations to their cause can be made through the Suntrust Bank of Brunswick, Acct. #1000048852254.  The bank’s phone number is (912) 265-5242.

 

Please allow me to offer a word of caution:  I do not know the corporate filing status of this foundation and, therefore, if they are a non-profit.  But Suntrust Bank will know.   I have read they are trying to get a website up, but have found no evidence of that yet.

 

Another opportunity to help is to donate to a fund begun to help relocate Christopher’s father and grandmother AWAY from this mobile park where Christopher was killed.  This is the same group that spearheaded donations to defray the cost of the child’s funeral and burial.  Donations to the Christopher Barrios Fund can be made locally at any Brunswick Bank of America.  The number to their main office in downtown Brunswick is (912) 267-4901. Again, I do not know how this fund was established, so a call to the bank would provide immediate answers as to their non-profit status.

 

George Edenfield, his lovely parents David and Peggy are scheduled to be arraigned at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, April 13th, in  Glynn County.  Donald Dale has already entered a plea of Not Guilty to concealing a death and tampering with evidence.

 

Dale’s plea doesn’t surprise me.  It’s standard.  I look forward to hearing what pleas the Edenfield trio enter, since all have registered confessions with police regarding their actions in Christopher’s death.  Since they have a death penalty hanging over their heads, I’m betting they’ll plea Not Guilty, too.

 

Two predictions are guaranteed:  the courtroom will be absolutely packed at the arraignment; and this trial will take as long as John Evander Couey’s did to get to court, then to get out.

 

More to come.

 

 

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Jury Recommends Death for John Evander Couey

Moments ago, the Miami jury returned their verdict against John Evander Couey, convicted last week in the kidnapping, rape and murder of Jessica Lunsford.  Deliberating only one hour, the jury recommends that John Couey be sentenced to death.

From this point, Couey’s early fate resides in the hands of Circuit Judge Richard Howard.  He will take the jury’s recommendation, weigh same against their deliberations, their views of the evidence presented in the case.  Barring finding any fault in the jury’s arrival at their recommendation of death, it is highly likely the judge will agree and so rule.

 It is likely that Couey’s defense team will present a post trial motion again claiming Couey’s mental inabilities.  If they do, the judge will need to consider this first before ruling upon the jury’s sentencing recommendation.  To do this, the court will appoint two mental health experts, who will review the case, interview Couey and report their findings to the court as to Couey’s mental status.  If the judge — vis-a-vis the expert reports — finds that Couey is, indeed, mentally retarded (i.e., IQ below 70, as well as failing several other tests, including whether or not he is a functional person, cares for himself, arrives at independent decisions, etc.), he must deny the death penalty recommendation and Couey to life, without parole, in accordance with Florida law.  If the experts find Couey not mentally incapacitated, the death penalty may stand.

It seems highly unlikely that Couey’s defense can ever overcome the wealth of evidence that has been presented to offset claims of mental incapacity.

In housekeeping before the verdict was announced, Couey signed an Agreed Stipulation for Change of Venue, allowing his case to return to Citrus County where it began and where Jessica was murdered.   If you will recall, Couey’s trial was changed early on from Citrus to Miami-Dade, due to pretrial publicity that corrupted the jury pool there.  With the trial concluded, the matter goes back home.

Judge Howard set a hearing date for March 22 to receive the matter back into Citrus County, where he will render his final sentencing decision.

Here is breaking coverage out of Florida:

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2007/mar/14/jury_recommends_death_penalty_jessica_lunsford_kil/?latest

The ultimate result of today’s jury recommendations will be at least a couple of weeks away, I feel.

Texas Eyes Death Penalty for Child Sex Predators

If you enjoy killing people and do so in the State of Texas, we will kill you back.  We’re famous for it.  And our State Legislature is right now considering adding that fact of life to those who enjoy sexually assaulting our children.

 

On Monday of this week, the Texas House approved a bill to provide a death sentence to repeated sex offenders and created a new crime category of ongoing or continual sexual abuse of children.  The measure passed the House 118-23 and, if ratified by the Senate, will carry a minimum of 25 years in prison for a first offense and either life without parole or death penalty for subsequent offenses.  The Senate is tossing around its own version of the bill that would mandate a minimal 25 year sentence for first-time sexual offenses against children.

 

Legislators also passed an amendment making it a second-degree felony for anyone aware of sexual abuse of children and failing to report it.

 

The cadre of laws proposed in the Legislature are strongly patterned after Florida’s “Jessica’s Law” named after Jessica Lunsford, who was heinously raped and buried alive in a garbage bag.  And just moments ago, a Miami jury found John Evander Couey guilty of burglary, kidnapping, sexual battery, and First Degree Murder of young Jessica.

 

The proposed Texas law defines continuous sexual abuse of a child as more than one crime committed against a victim younger than 14 years over a period of 30 days or more.  If convicted under this law, a criminal would yield 25 to 99 years in prison.  If released on parole and later convicted for a similar crime again, said criminal would automatically face life without parole or death.

 

There are exceptions to the law that would allow for teenage sexual affairs under what is called a “Romeo and Juliet” clause.

 

More than a dozen states have already adopted strengthened penalties against those convicted of sexual crimes against children, some of which also provide for death penalties in the most egregious of cases.  Missouri is entertaining one right now in the aftermath of the Michael J. Devlin case.  Yet, even when death penalties are not provided for in state statues, prosecutors have often been authorized to seek death penalties.