Skip to comments.Looking into the eyes of evil
Posted on 08/17/2011 9:02:05 AM PDT by John David Powell
In a few days, exactly one week as I write this, our family will look once more into the eyes of evil and hope that our long journey for justice will be ended.
Events happen throughout our lives that we remember with a clarity undimmed by the passage of time. The day was Oct. 26, 1981. I was home for my dinner break when my mother-in-law called to deliver the awful news that my wifes sister was dead, murdered in her Greencastle, Ind., home.
When I saw President Bushs face as Andy Card told him about the 9/11 attacks, I realized I had a similar look as I listened to the details from my mother-in-law while trying to present a calm persona to my wife who was four-months pregnant with our first child. There is a sound, a terrible cry, one might hear from a mortally injured animal somewhere in the darkness. In the case of my wife, it was a mournful sound that welled up from her soul where the wound will never heal.
Martha had breakfast with a friend that morning. After lunch she signed up to be a substitute teacher in the public schools. She then worked out with another friend before heading home for the last time.
Her husband Jim came home after work and discovered the gruesome scene. As described by the Indiana Supreme Court, and quoted by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana (http://in.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.20000822_0000023.NIN.htm/qx), Martha had been raped, anally sodomized, stabbed in the right rear shoulder, and struck on the head with a table lamp . . . ligature marks on her neck indicated she had been strangled, and burn marks on her ankles showed the perpetrator had attempted to electrocute her as well. The cause of death was determined to be the knife wound in her upper back, which penetrated her lung and severed her pulmonary artery.
Police early the next morning arrested William Minnick, an 18-year-old with a criminal record for minor offenses, whom Martha and Jim hired to do handy-man work at their house. He used his taped confession as the basis to appeal his death sentence for the murder, rape, and robbery.
In September 1985, the second jury also found him guilty of those crimes, but recommended life without parole, largely because jurors did not know about his confession. The judge knew about it and other details of the crime. She said Marthas mutilation and defilement even after death were the kinds of mitigating circumstances the Indiana Legislature envisioned when passing the states capital punishment laws.
Following that second conviction and second death sentence, Minnick unleashed a flood of appeals, letters, threats, and international pleas for help in fighting what he perceives to be a corrupt judiciary system, a belief supported by many well-meaning individuals and groups who seem to think all convicted murders are innocent, even those who confessed to their crimes.
Since then, Indiana abolished the death penalty and the federal courts said a judge cannot impose death when a jury recommends life. Minnicks habeas corpus appeal to the federal courts resulted in a ruling that Indiana resentence him to life without parole. That ruling came exactly 11 years and a day before next weeks hearing. But, once again, Minnick managed to delay justice when the courts deemed him incompetent. That changed a few months ago.
In recent years, Minnick has become somewhat of a media darling, even turning up as a featured inmate in an MSNBC documentary (http://annalsofspacetime.blogspot.com/2010/11/felons-and-felines.html) about a program that provides cats to prisoners so they can feel good about themselves. You cannot begin to imagine our shock when we came across the video and saw him laughing about the day of his arrest. What kind of mind justifies profiling a confessed killer, using his laughter and glee to promote a feel-good program without the first thought of how his victims feel?
And thats what we are: victims. Assuming Minnick ever gets to court, he could, unbelievably, get sentenced only on the murder conviction, thereby making him eligible for immediate parole for time served. His victims, however, receive no court-ordered reduction of their life sentence.
I will not go fully into the financial, psychological, and emotional costs to the people of Indiana and to our family. Taxpayers pay for Minnicks incarceration, his attorneys, and his court-appointed guardian. We pay for our travel and lodging to attend his trials and his sentencing hearings so judges and juries can see Martha through our eyes. In doing so, we relive those terrible memories with the same intense horror we experienced nearly three decades ago, in what can only be considered cruel and unusual punishment.
I believe Martha struggled with Minnick. I believe she fought and kicked, screamed and pleaded. I know from Minnicks own words that she prayed to God for help. She did all she could in a few short, but agonizing and terrifying minutes to save her life.
For nearly 30 years, Minnick has abused the legal system in a similar, albeit ironic, way by screaming, pleading, and praying to the courts and to anyone not willing to know the truth of his heinous crime against Martha and, by extension, each of us: her family, her friends, her community, and everyone who values the lives of innocent victims of crime.
Our nightmares will not end if he spends the rest of his life in prison, but at least we will not have to look into the eyes of this evil ever again.
John David Powell writes his columns from ShadeyHill Ranch in Texas. He also hosts Gone to Texas on Blog Talk Radio. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayers for you and your family. I cannot imagine what you have gone through these years. Some pain just never fully goes away.
Your story of how our legal system bent over backwards for the perpetrator at the expense of justice for the victim and her family disgusts me to no end. Please note the different terms used above as it is my opinion that we have a legal system, not a justice system.
Unfortunately, the one conclusion I can draw is that the only justice your family can count on will occur after the perpetrator is dead when he stands before the Ultimate Judge to answer for his deeds. I know that does not provide much comfort as your family continues to be aggrieved by the legal system. I pray for your continued strength and resources to force the system to account for your loss while dealing with the processes that “protect” the perpetrator.
As momtothree said, prayers for you and your family.
Your post should be required reading for all US citizens.
I know it is a very small consolation, but at least be sure that your post has strengthened us to fight for a victim-centered justice system.
We’ve had a few slip through this legal noose that is our appeals process with some slick-tongue lawyer and a bunch of dumb judges who can’t find their arses with both hands. The victims are still grief-stricken even though it’s been years and years since their loved ones were taken in a most brutal way. Our whole legal system needs a complete overhaul and the sooner the better. Nowadays the courts seem to trip all over themselves trying to protect the murdering scum at the expense of the families. Bring back hanging in the public square, bring back the electric chair and make sure they’re used and used regularly! Enough of this already!! My heart goes out to you and your family Mr. Powell.
I am so sorry for this terrible loss. I cannot even imagine the suffering of all involved.
Personally, I am starting to look favorably to the "avenger of blood" concept embedded in the Mosaic law. I'm only half-kidding. Legally empowering the family of a murder victim to hunt down and slay the murderer may sound crazy, but it is more just than the revolving-door system we have.
God’s justice is perfect. Until these evil people face Him, we must do what we can to protect ourselves. People like Minnick and Mumia (I’m betting real money BO “pardons” him on his way out of office- a final “screw you” to the American people)should become victims of a vigilante. The Bible allows for such people to have their lives taken “by man”. So...I’m good with it. Our legal system is not protecting us from the worst of the predators, so we must do it ourselves.
Television!! ... there are no outer limits, there is no bottom, no depravity is so bad that someone will not try to feed it into your living room.
I am an ex-cable operator. Sold out in 1999 and have not watched a television show since. Comedy is not funny, children should not be subjected to "children's programming," "news" is not news ... no real need to present the whole list.