A Fitting Punishment?

More than 130 readers took an informal poll on kitsapsun.com after we ran a story about the Kitsap County Prosecutors Office recommending a 13 1/2 year sentence for Bremerton resident Raven Hudson, 22, who plead guilty Friday to second-degree murder.

About 90 percent of those surveyed felt the sentence was simply not long enough for the crime.

Hudson shot and killed Janet Eaton, 43, who was standing outside her Sixth Avenue apartment near 7-Eleven. The pair evidently did not know each other before that late August night.

When the prosecutors made the call to recommend 13 1/2 years — while fellow convicted murder Roy Kenneth Stillwagon, 27, who shot and killed Leonard Brown III on Washington Avenue only five days earlier — had gotten 64 1/2 years, I wondered how readers would react.

Sure enough, readers, by and large, were mostly surprised and many were angered (see results of the poll here).

But the cases are highly complicated and involve their own set of circumstances. The key difference: prosecutors thought they had the evidence to put Stillwagon away for first-degree murder, but not enough in Hudson’s case.

If you were a prosecutor, what would you do?

3 thoughts on “A Fitting Punishment?

  1. Plea bargining in this state has run amok, it’s criminal heaven, without it they’d be facing serious time. But that would do two of many other things and that is 1) — Fill up Jails which we don’t have enough of and 2) — Cost more tax money going to trial. In some states plea bargining has been deemed illegal. I think it should here as well. Do the crime, serve the time, and the time should be fitting to keep bad people off the streets. Stop this plea bargining. Prosecutors need to break away from their liberal ways of life. Mistakes are not acceptable and “sorry” repairs nothing. You can’t get a loved one back because someone says “SORRY.”

  2. I am Leonard Brown III’s Mother. The details in both cases are indeed very complicated, and certainly prosecutors must add budget conciousness to their long list of things to consider when recommending sentences. What we all need to do is really look hard at the big picture. We are warehousing more and more people in prisons. There is no real focus on rehabilitation. When someone does twenty or thirty years, they are released and expected to carry on, committing no more crimes, yet they have just been through a very long and very intense crime school. Crime is all they know and more crime is what we get when these people get out. Murder has the lowest percentage of reciticism of any crime, yet carries the longest sentences. I believe people need to be held accountable, but our prison system is just not working. I know there are exeptions to everything and possibly Stillwagon is an exception to my belief that long prison sentences are not fixing anything. When I go to Lucas Johnson’s sentencing tomorrow, I will let the court know that I support a minimum sentence for him, and I hope that he is able to find a lesson that will help him be a productive member of society when he gets out. Thirteen years or twenty, he will get out. My hope is that he is not an even more dangerous man when he is released. Eddie Butler was right when he said “SORRY” doesn’t bring a loved one back, but neither does a long prison sentence. I’ve always said “No excuse for bad behavior.”, but we’ve got to find a better way to handle criminals than what we are doing now.

  3. I am Roy Stillwagon II’s (commonly known as Kenny) sister. I personally feel that the plea bargains that were offered to Lucas Johnson and the other gal should be null and void. I feel that plea bargains don’t help criminals get rehabilitated~they only show them they can literally get away with murder and be able to be out with their families in 10-15 years. I agree with Ms. Pearce and Mr. Butler that doing time doesn’t bring loved ones back, cause if it did I would spend the rest of my life in a prison, just to have my mother back. I am extremely frustrated with the way the “Justice” system has been working lately. As for my brother’s trial, there was no physical, dna or forensic evidence that actually put him at the scene. Just the word of criminals willing to say he was there, just so they wouldn’t have to do any time. If he actually did this, I would be the first to know~he is my brother and my best friend. He tells me everything. I’m not trying to make excuses for him, and I’m extremely sorry for what happened to Leonard. I didn’t know him~but it doesn’t change a thing. To sum it all up, I just feel that if someone commits a crime, they should receive the punishment that accompanies the crime. Working in the law field I know that 10-15 years is not the sentence that accompanies First Degree Murder, or Accessory to First Degree Murder. The girl got little time~and they say it’s because they didn’t have a case. That’s wrong~they had an eye-witness that saw her shoot the victim point blank in the head. They went easy on her because she’s pregnant. Did you think that maybe that was her plan all along? They just need to re-group and come up with a better system.

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