Should a killer go free?

15 Mar

Guy Turcotte murdered his children. His defense is that he was deeply distraught over the collapse of his marriage–so much so that he was not responsible for his actions.

People get deeply distraught all the time–so distraught that they don’t want to go on. Some of these people hurt themselves. Some commit crimes of passion, and unleash their fury on the ex who wronged them. How many people, when faced with crippling depression, take it out on the only ones who are totally innocent–their children?

That is exactly what Guy Turcotte did. And “experts” are saying that he’s no longer depressed, and should be allowed to walk. That he should be allowed to re-marry and have more children (!), go back to practicing medicine. This story sends off so many red flags I’m not sure where to start when counting them.

Turcotte is using his divorce–a situation thousands of people face every day–as the reason why he snapped, and murdered his helpless, trusting babies. This is extremely alarming. Any number of things could cause a person extreme distress–he will likely be distraught again, over and over, in the future, because distress is part of life. What’s to say that he isn’t going to hurt someone again? Is it worth the risk to society, to his neighbours, to the people on whom he’d be practicing medicine?

Then there’s the way that he carried out the murders. Obviously, killing children is horrific no matter how it is done, but he did it in a way that was brutal and ensured that they would suffer. He stabbed his own 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, until they were dead. That is not just distress. That is rage–and it is dangerous.

Now he’s ready to move on. He wants to be released from jail, have a new relationship, new children, and go back to work. Most parents completely collapse at the death of a child. They cannot imagine going on, and many simply don’t. The crushing guilt that would compound that grief, in the event of a parent actually causing the excruciating death of their own child,  should be debilitating. It should not be a situation in which someone says “Okay, great! My trial’s done, I’ve been acquitted, my two helpless offspring are in the ground, I’m ready to carpe diem!”

He has caused pain and devastation to countless people with his horrific actions–the lives of the children’s mother, their relatives, friends and community members will never be the same. Why should he be allowed to move on, when his children can’t? And how can he want to? Even thinking of something happening to my children makes me want to curl up into a ball and hide. I can’t imagine facing that reality, knowing it was my fault, and getting over it. Ever.

Guy Turcotte’s wife–perhaps the person who knew him best–is pleading with the board to see him for the monster who he is. Shouldn’t they listen?

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