By the time you read this, Seth Williams will likely have been elected D.A., and, at the CJC, jury selection in the capital trial of alleged cop killer John Lewis will have commenced.
Lewis, according to eyewitnesses and security cameras, executed Police Officer Chuck Cassidy, who witnessed him robbing a West Oak Lane Dunkin’ Donuts. The robber shot Cassidy’s head, stepped over his dying body and fled with the cop’s gun. Arrested in Miami several days after the Oct. 31, 2007 tragedy, Lewis told television cameras, “I never meant for anything like this to happen.”
They never do.
Days later, I wrote I wished the cops got two hours alone with him before the public learned of the arrest. For that, I was likened to Karl Rove. Well, that’s where Williams comes in.
After his May primary win, we talked about capital punishment. I said fix and use it; he’d prefer a world without it, but reserved use for the “most egregious” cases. Setting aside the racial-inequities hubbub — it exists — history says juries here are apt to vote death. Should they do so in the Cassidy case, it will serve as the first big test of Williams’ philosophy. If he doesn’t think this crime is egregious enough to battle through the inevitable appeals process, just punishment goes the perma-moratorium way of “Cop Rock, only it’d be anything but kitschy to see murderers’ lives protected more than their victims’.
Disagree? Name one good reason why Domingo Ferreira’s jail-cell suicide wasn’t fitting justice for what his daughter Charleeni suffered at his, and allegedly his evil wife’s, hands.
Just as I figured: They never can.
— Brian Hickey is a freelance journalist living in East Falls.
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