Friday, October 12, 2012

Justice for a Little Girl - UPDATED

Police announced today that the "body" found in an Arvada Colorado field was that of ten year old Jessica Ridgeway.

Police officers are often asked "How do you stand it? I couldn't do your job." This case is an example of why so many of us stick with it. An astonishing number of police officers are wherever they are, doing whatever they are doing and wanting to be the one who puts handcuffs on this little girl's killer. Not rough them up or meet street justice on them. No, that would make them a hero to some.

Handcuffs make a satisfying, distinct ripping sound when they are applied. Rendering all but the most agile and motivated arrestee relatively harmless, they signal control. Control over the arrestee by the forces for good, for justice. Control over our emotions, declaring the suspect satisfactorily restrained. Be it for a minor infraction or a stunning evil, to a cop handcuffs mean peace, victory.

How do we stand it? For the chance to be that guy, the one who puts handcuffs on a killer and thereby takes them off the street.


UPDATE - I'm sure there were high-fives today with the arrest of a suspect in Jessica Ridgeway's murder. There is so much more work to be done, so many more professionals who will have a hand in the final just outcome. The exceptional DA's Office in Jefferson County, working with the involved law enforcement jurisdictions, now gets down to the business of prosecuting. The realization that a serial offender, perhaps capable of many more such crimes, is sitting in a secure building is a huge relief to everyone, cops included. Prosecuted as an adult, spending the rest of his life behind bars? We'll see. But, I'll bet I know what the pros in Westy, Arvada and all of the other involved organizations will do when the day's paperwork is done, and the scenes are processed.

They'll go home and get some sleep. At least for the moment, this fellow will kill no one else's child. Thanks to them.

UPDATE - Two absolutely unsurprising developments in court this morning. The judge ordered the suspect held without bond (can you say "Continuing danger to the community"?) and Jeffco's DA will try him as an adult. While the defense made the usual argument of no criminal history, Scott Storey reminded the court - and us - that he has DNA and a confession. He probably has a whole lot more, but.... Arvada and Westminster have not released details that are called "investigative keys" for just the day someone wants to confess. Only the killer, and the cops, know them. If, in his confession, the suspect has these details, it's more likely than not that he's the right asshole. In addition, although the Supreme Court muddied the sentencing waters last term, a juvenile charged as an adult can still get a significantly more severe sentence. With luck, this fellow will never again be free.


  1. And as a member of society, and a mother, I would thank that cop forever and ever. But I imagine it would be quite hard not to beat the absolute shit out of scum like this person, no?

  2. Very well said. We all pray for "that guy" to be there if our turn comes to need them. And today we all pray for Jessica Ridgeways family and the officers working to bring her killer to justice.

  3. Thank you got the comment, Lady Di.

  4. It's unfortunate that you can't beat the crap out of the guy once he's caught. Of course, he deserves a trial. It's what civilized society does. (As a parent, when I see something like this, I feel anything but civilized.) Still, some of these sentences don't always seem right.

    Get 'im, Jim.

  5. So true, Marci. We talk about this all the time, the hope that the suspect will resist. Yet, the feeling of satisfaction is fleeting. The real payoff is watching all of the hard work result in arrest, prison and the sure knowlege that there are youngsters who will grow up free of the predator's shadow.

  6. Thank God!! And Law Enforcement!!!

  7. They did a nice job, and kept back enough information to judge the legitimacy of a confession. Frankly, I'll be happy if some of the details NEVER come out.