Wednesday, October 7, 2009

He Got Off Too Easy

by Donna Weaver

Florida death row inmate John Evander Couey died of cancer last week, and if you ask me, he got off too easy.

Six men and six women found Couey guilty of first-degree murder, burglary, kidnapping, and sexual battery in March 2007 for the rape and murder of nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford in 2005. The same jury also recommend, by majority vote, that Couey be put to death. The defense had urged jurors to sentence him to life in prison, putting psychologists on the stand who testified that Couey was mentally retarded. Florida law prohibits execution of someone judged mentally retarded. The prosecution called their own experts, who stated Couey was well aware of his actions when he kidnapped, raped, and murdered little Jessica.

Couey was a waste of skin who knew exactly what he wanted to do to Jessica Lunsford. He was also the veritable poster boy for the flaws in our justice system that contribute to the horrific deaths of innocent children like Jessie.

Couey’s rap sheet included no less than 24 burglary arrests, an arrest for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, and an arrest for indecent exposure. During a home burglary in 1978, he was accused of grabbing a girl in her bedroom, placing his hand over her mouth, and kissing her. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison but paroled in 1980. In 1991, Couey became a registered sex offender after he was arrested in Kissimmee, FL, on a charge of committing a lewd and lascivious act in the presence of a child. However, the criminal court progress docket for this case shows Couey was allowed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of attempted lewd act on a child. He was given credit for 135 days time served in a state prison.

How does one get arrested 27 times by age 46 and not still be incarcerated?

What about Couey’s housemates? According to CBS News reports, court documents state "Couey's timeline of events after he kidnapped Jessica Lunsford leaves open the possibility she was alive and in the house at the time of the first and possibly the second interview." Citrus County sheriff's deputies stopped twice at Couey's sister's single-wide mobile home while canvassing the neighborhood after Jessie was reported missing Feb. 24. At the first interview, shortly after the child was reported missing, deputies spoke to Couey's niece and her boyfriend. The second time, deputies spoke with the same niece and Couey's half sister. Jessica Lunsford lived just 150 yards away, and her abduction was all over the news. Authorities say the residents concealed the fact that Couey was staying at the trailer. This suggests to me that they may have known Couey kidnapped Jessica and had her in the house. DNA evidence proved that he raped the little girl on the bedroom mattress. Jessica’s fingerprints were also found on other areas in the bedroom. Police and prosecutors believe Couey kept her alive for a time in the bedroom closet.

How could four other adults living in such tight quarters not have heard or seen anything? One month later, Jessica was found near the trailer -- right where Couey told investigators he buried her alive. How could these four people not hear the plastic bags being wrapped around Jessie, or Couey outside digging a hole and then burying the little girl alive as she struggled, her little fingers poking holes through the garbage bags?

It is truly horrifying to contemplate that someone else in that household might have seen her or heard that little girl cry out, and did nothing to help her. If so, they are equally guilty of all charges and deserve the same punishment as the monster they protected with their silence.


Cheryl said...

He certainly did get off easy. Lets just hope he suffered some during his time in prision. Horrible thing to say but forgiveness is hard to find when a child has suffered so horrendously! Makes my blood boil.

As for others knowing Couey had Jessica - I certainly hope they didn't cover for him. I don't believe there was any proof that they did. I too find it amazing that none of them (living in tight quarters as you pointed out) noticed anything amiss. It is, however, possible.

Leah said...

I don't see how is it possible that nobody in that trailer knew Jessica was there. I am currently living in a single wide mobile home on my property while my house is being built. Mobile homes aren't insulated as well nor are they built with the same materials as a "regular" home and obviously they aren't as big. I'll never believe Couey's relatives didn't know Jessica was there.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Couey is at best, the worst of the worst. But how exactly would you have had him die if you think dying of cancer is getting off easy?

Obviously you have never known anyone who has died of it.

Stupid article. Just because its your TURN to write doesnt mean you have to subject us to it. Just take a pass.

Anonymous said...

Personally, Anonymous, I would have liked to have seen him buried alive in a plastic bag....after some big, ugly, warped guy(s) had raped him....over a period of several days.

As in "do unto others."

Another Anonymous

Anonymous said...

I believe you are thinking of as in "an eye for an eye", not do unto others.

Which is the Golden Rule... "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"

Anonymous said...

I find it difficult to believe no one else in the trailer knew she was there. Or at least what he was up to.
It's sickening he got away with what he did.
I agree he got off too easy, unless of course he's spending the rest of eternity in ....HELL!

Cheryl said...

Anonymous 1. You obviously don't like ANYTHING thats written in here so why do you even bother? I'm assuming, of course, that you are the same Anonymous that keeps making all the nasty comments.