Carlos Martinelly was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his drunk driving accident (August 1, 2010) that injured 2 nuns and killed a third. Martinelly was also charged with felony murder.
Wikipedia defines ‘felony murder’ as follows:
The rule of felony murder is a legal doctrine in some common law jurisdictions that broadens the crime of murder in two ways. First, when an offender kills accidentally or without specific intent to kill in the course of an applicable felony, what might have been manslaughter is escalated to murder. Second, it makes any participant in such a felony criminally liable for any deaths that occur during or in furtherance of that felony. While there is some debate about the original scope of the rule, modern interpretations typically require that the felony be an inherently dangerous one, or one committed in an obviously dangerous manner. For this reason, the felony murder rule is often justified by its supporters as a means of deterring dangerous felonies.
I keep thinking about this case being Corey Stewart’s launch pad into state politics. For over a year we have heard about this case, day after day. This case has been all over Fox News time after time, as some sort of landmark illegal immigrant case rather than a drunk driving case. Martinelly was brought here illegally as a child. He had a green card. He just didn’t have legal status. He became the ‘nun killer.’
Meanwhile, another drunk driving case was barely mentioned. William John Mallory was sentenced to 20 years for the deaths of a grandmother and her toddler grandson. 17 years of that sentence were suspended. Mallory serves 3 years.
There is some inequity here. I excuse no one nor am I attempting to excuse drunk driving. However, why is Martinelly serving all 20 years and why was he charged with murder? I feel certain he didn’t get in his car that morning and decide to go mow down a car load of nuns in cold blood. I feel certain William Mallory didn’t plan on killing a grandmother and her little grandson.
Why is there so much disparity between these two cases? Could it be that the Commonwealth Attorney’s office caved in because Martinelly was an illegal immigrant? Could it be that killing nuns is worse than killing grandmothers? Judge Farris sentenced Martinelly to 20 years.
On the other hand, Judge Johnston also ordered that Mallory, who hit the family in 2009, also has to serve 5 years probation and put a wreath on the graves of the deceased to remind him of what he did. The family feels short-changed. On the other hand, the Benedictine nuns said from the beginning that they wanted no retribution and they didn’t want the case to become political.
Mallory did not receive national attention. Martinelly did. Stewart won’t catapult into a state election on the back of Mallory like he is trying to do over Martinelly. I would just like to see similar cases treated equally.