On occasion, there are stories that regardless of where we are on the political spectrum, we should all find disturbing and find common ground.
I’m Dad to two daughters, and they’re now 23 and 20. Our youngest, Austen’s, birthday is on Thanksgiving. I cannot imagine anyone hurting them, and me not just going berserk. If there’s an automatic death penalty sentence it should be in the case of any violent crime against a woman, and a child…especially a child. In Minnesota, what just happened I perceive as a travesty of justice.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, “A Minnesota man who abducted, sexually assaulted and killed 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling 27 years ago apologized in court Monday for his “evil acts” as he was sentenced to 20 years in prison on a child pornography count that let authorities close the books on a mystery that had haunted the state for nearly three decades.
Danny Heinrich, 53, led authorities this summer to the field where he buried Jacob’s remains. As part of his plea bargain, prosecutors agreed not to charge Heinrich with murder. “I am truly sorry for my evil acts,” Heinrich said as he stood before U.S. District Judge John Tunheim and the Wetterling family.
Heinrich told Jacob’s parents and siblings that his actions were “heinous” and “unforgivable,” and apologized for what he took away from them. He said he kept silent for nearly three decades because of his fear. The sentence was the maximum the law allowed, and Heinrich technically could complete it in 17 years with good behavior, but the plea deal allows state authorities to seek his civil commitment as a sexual predator at the end of his federal prison term, which could prevent him from ever going free.
“What you’ve done is so heinous, so brutal and so awful that I don’t believe society will let you go free,” Tunheim said.
While some questioned whether it was adequate punishment, Jacob’s parents, Patty and Jerry Wetterling, have agreed with prosecutors that it was their best hope.
Jacob was abducted by a masked gunman on Oct. 22, 1989, while biking with his brother and a friend near his home in the central Minnesota community of St. Joseph. Early in the investigation, authorities questioned Heinrich, who maintained his innocence. But he came under renewed scrutiny when authorities decided to take a fresh look at the case around the 25th anniversary of the kidnapping.
After months of denials, Heinrich agreed in late August to confess to killing Jacob and the Cold Spring sex assault. Heinrich detailed his crimes in chilling detail in court in September, recounting how a handcuffed Jacob asked him, “What did I do wrong?” He said he drove the boy to a gravel pit near Paynesville and molested him. After a patrol car with siren and lights passed nearby, he fired two shots at Jacob’s head, killing him.”
Heinrich was found guilty on nearly 25 counts of child pornography and that’s what resulted in the 20 year prison sentence.
Now, I must say there is no way this animal should be allowed to be alive. Sorry. If there’s a walking example supporting the death penalty, it’s Danny Heinrich.
Imagine that poor little boy, Jacob, looking at this adult and asking, “what did I do wrong?” What did this innocent little boy do to deserve this deplorable, heinous crime to be enacted against him?
And for Heinrich to say he remained silent all these years because of “his fear” does nothing to soothe the harm of what he did. He brutally killed a young American boy, and caused immense pain for a family. At least they now have closure, can give little Jacob a proper burial and close out this horrific chapter in their life.
There’s something wrong with our justice system when Danny Heinrich cannot face the death penalty in this case. There’s something wrong when a “plea bargain” is done for someone so demonic. I know criminal defense attorneys are supposed to do their best for their clients — such as with Hillary Clinton and the rape case — but there has to be some standard of decency, not legal manipulations.
Y’all can hate me all you want, but if there was ever a time when torture could be warranted, it would have been to make this vermin disclose the whereabouts of Jacob’s remains. I do not apologize; this case truly angers me and makes me sick to my stomach.
I must offer my sincere condolences to Jacob’s parents Patty and Jerry Wetterling. You both are the epitome of class, grace, and humility in the face of such a tragedy.
Needless to say Jerry, this ol’ Southern boy would have gone ballistic. As you read this story, let us all offer up a prayer for Jacob whom our Lord Jesus welcomed him into His arms…”suffer the little children that they may come unto me”.
Can there be any rehabilitation for sexual predators? I’m not a trained psychiatrist to make that analysis. However, we as a nation must protect our children — born and unborn — from those who would hurt them. I do pray, yes, pray, that Danny Heinrich gets the justice he deserves, as did Jeffrey Dahmer. There is no place in our society for any adult that would hurt the most vulnerable amongst us, our children.
Requiem en pace Jacob…you should have been able to grow up, live a long life, and be a Minnesota Vikings fan.