A Really Serious Issue

When a serious crime or a murder occurs it usually shocks and injects fear into the community.
The community usually settles it’s anxiety once the offender/s are caught and life continues… until the criminal is up for release and usually for good reason!

A man who can only be identified by the name ‘XFJ’ stabbed his wife to death in 1990 but was found not guilty by way of insanity. This morning XFJ was granted the right by the Victorian Court of Appeal to become a taxi driver. ‘ “There is no risk to passenger safety in any taxi which he drives,” the appeal justices said. “He is technically competent, and in good health, and has been assessed from the outset as being capable of meeting reasonable community expectations…”, ‘ the Herald Sun reported this morning.

The Herald Sun posted a poll asking the question “Would you feel safe getting into a taxi driven by this man?”

The results as of 7:40pm, 11/10/2011:

  • Yes 12.09% (345 votes)
  • No 87.91% (2508 votes)

Total votes: 2853

The majority of the 2853 votes voted no, which could be enough to represent the communities view’s on the prospects of a serious criminal driving them around.

According to the Herald Sun when he killed his wife XFJ was depressed and had tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide, but has been living successfully in the community without supervision for many years.

A studies have shown that within 10 years of release, 74% of those convicted will reoffend. Over half reoffend within a year. Psychopaths abound among the criminal population. Although psychopaths are estimated to represent only 1% of the total population, they make up approximately 25% of prison inmates. In addition, the number of psychopaths that reoffend is extremely high. More than 80% of psychopathic offenders will reoffend violently within six years after their release.

That is all very well but at the time of the murder XFJ was apparently regarded as ‘insane’ which is a serious mental ailment. Not only very serious is insanity it can also be triggered and can return and interrupt a persons well-being. Being psychotic or having a psychotic episode can also be considered insane, regardless if they are being treated by medication. It only takes a missed dose for a psychopath’s symptoms to reoccur.

In early 2010 a report was published stating that in the last decade nearly 30 killers released from jail in England have gone on to kill again. Among the killers was Paul Brumfitt, who murdered a teenage prostitute after being released from two life sentences for two manslaughters, having served only 15 years. Another in 1999, murderer Mark Leicester killed Margaret Thompson after absconding while on day release from a life sentence for the murder of a former girlfriend.

In July 2008 the English newspaper the Daily Mail reported official figures showing criminals on probation were comitting a murder every week. “In the past two years, offenders under supervision have been convicted of 121 murders. Meanwhile, 44 have been convicted of manslaughter, 103 of rape and 80 of kidnapping…”

One of the world’s most prolific killers Pedro Alonzo Lopez, who’s whereabouts are unknown was responsible for the rape and murder of 350 children yet in 1998 he was set free despite vowing to kill again. He only served 20 years, all of which was spent in solitary confinement. In his earlier life he was imprisoned for stealing a car, he then killed 3 cellmates but was released for good behavior. He confessed to killing at least 110 children in Ecuador, over 100 more in Colombia, and another 100 in Peru. Lopez was taken in the middle of the night to the Colombia border and released. Lopez served less than one month for each murder. Neither Colombia or Peru had the money to bring the madman to justice. Authorities suspect he has either died or has continued killing and evading justice.

More recently and closer to home John Leslie Coombes was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for the murder of Raechel Betts. Coombes strangled his victim and cut her up in a bathtub after an argument at a house in Phillip Island, Victoria. He disposed of her body in garbage bags thrown from a pier. Ms Betts was not Coombes first victim, she was merely No. 3! In February 1984 he murdered a man named Michael Peter Speirani. In November the same year he murdered Henry Desmond Kells.  Coombes received a life term in December 1985 for the Kells murder. In April 1990 he was granted an 11-year minimum term. For the Speirani murder he was ordered, in April 1998, to serve 15 years with a 10-year minimum. Which allowed him to be released back into the community to kill once again.

Another recent Victorian case is that of Leigh Robinson who, in 2008 shot and murdered Tracey Greenbury at point-blank range on her neighbor’s door-step in Frankston, Victoria. 40 Years earlier he was convicted of killing his then girlfriend in Chadstone by stabbing her. He was sentenced to death for her murder, but it was later commuted to 30 years in prison. Robinson served just 15. After his release he was charged with rape and sexual assault and he was also reported to have threatened to kill his wife and step-daughter.

Here is a list of some other murderers who were released and killed again (or convicted of a serious crime such as attempted murder, aggravated assault, rape or kidnapping):

  1. James Elay
  2. Frank Babic
  3. Paul Brumfitt
  4. Danny Rouse
  5. Andrew Dawson
  6. Douglas Gary Vinter
  7. Graham Young
  8. Ernest Wright
  9. Mark Shirley (attempted to kill once released)
  10. Wesley Hinds (aggravated assault with a deadly weapon)
  11. Colin Hatch (was on parole for a string of serious sex crimes when he killed, prosecutors stated he would probably kill after his first spate in jail.)
  12. John Mc Rae
  13. John Miller
  14. Donald Dillbeck
  15. Edward Kennedy
  16. Dawud Mu’Min
  17. Viva Nash
  18. Randy Greenawalt
  19. Norman Parka
  20. Winford Stokes
  21. Charles Crawford
  22. Jack Ferrell
  23. Timothy Buss
  24. Arthur J. Bomar Jr
  25. Dwain Little
  26. Athur Shawcross
  27. Darrell P. Pandeli
  28. Chad Alan Lee
  29. Scott Lehr
  30. Charles Daniels
  31. Darryl Kemp
  32. Zeno E. Sims
  33. Royston Jackson
  34. 35 year old Sydney man who’s name has been withheld,  read the news article here.

There was such a large number of people who have killed after being released from prison for murder but the list would take me such a long time to type all the names and details I found.

It DOES NOT take a genius to figure out that none of these people should never have been released from jail the first time. If we had tougher jail time many of these killings would not have happened.
A life sentence should be just that, a life sentence!
Not 13 years here, 15 years there, obviously 20 years is not enough for some of these brutal criminals.

Tougher penalties could and WILL save thousands of lives if our justice system was not to fail us.

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