Friday, September 28, 2007
Three Of The Four Black Suspects In The North Carolina Murder Of 12-Year Old Emily Haddock Were Repeat Offenders On Probation
Three of the four black suspects charged with the murder of a white 12-year old Moore County North Carolina girl were given suspended sentences for other crimes and were free on probation at the time of her slaying. Full story published in the Dunn Daily Record.
Michael Graham Currie, 18, Nicholas Harrison, 19, and Van Roger Smith, 16, all residents of Cameron in Harnett County (pictured from left to right in the photo upper left) were charged on September 24th with murder in the September 21st shooting death of Emily Elizabeth Haddock.
Perry Ross Schiro, 19, also a Cameron resident (pictured extreme right), was arrested on September 25th and initially charged with burglary, larceny, and possession of stolen property when deputies found a stolen .22 caliber handgun in his possession, but then was also charged with murder on Thursday September 27th in Emily Haddock's death. He is the fourth suspect to be charged with her murder. All four suspects are being held without bond in the Moore County Jail.
However, of the four suspects, only Van Roger Smith had no prior criminal record. Nicholas Harrison was serving a concurrent 36-month suspended sentence, which he received in February 2006 for four burglary convictions. He had a probation violation hearing on March 15th in Harnett Superior Court. The court transcript says Harrison's probation officer had been trying to contact him for four months to get him to report as ordered. Superior Court Judge Richard Brown strongly considered revoking Harrison's probation but the probation office did not seek revocation.
Michael Graham Currie last appeared in court in August, where a jury found him not guilty of second-degree trespassing. He is serving a concurrent suspended sentence for six crimes: Trespassing, simple assault, possession of stolen goods, unauthorized use of conveyance, breaking and entering and larceny.
Perry Ross Schiro is serving a concurrent suspended sentence for five crimes: Assault, two counts of simple assault, possession of Schedule VI drug and possession of stolen goods.
The fact that these three individuals received suspended sentences for numerous crimes is utterly scandalous. The initial blame for this appears to lie at the feet of the judiciary. However, there appears to be a pissing contest between the judiciary and the Department of Corrections as to who should get the blame. Judge Brown wanted to revoke the probation of one of the offenders, but the probation office did not follow up.
But Department of Corrections spokesman Keith Acree counters that it is ultimately up to a judge to revoke probation. "We've taken Mr. Harrison and Mr. Currie back to court on numerous occasions for probation violations," Acree said. "We present the judge with the facts and sometimes we make recommendations. But ultimately the judge makes the call."
Nonetheless, Superior Court Judge Frank Lanier said he is moving away from relying on probation officers recommendations. "We do make the ultimate decision," Judge Lanier said. "But I've learned it's not actually the supervising officer's recommendation but a policy directive from higher-ups in Raleigh who don't actually supervise the probationers, who just want to make their numbers look good. Therefore, I've moved away from that reliance."
Acree countered by saying that he was not aware of any state directive to local probation officers to reduce revocations. Acree furthered claimed that at the time of Harrison's arrest, state probation officers were seeking probation violation charges against Mr. Harrison.
Meanwhile, while excuses were being volleyed back and forth, a 12-year old girl was murdered by four people, three of whom clearly should have been in prison.
The primary version of the story in circulation is that the four accused killers targeted the Haddock residence because it is located in a relatively isolated area. Seeing no vehicles in the driveway, they apparently believed that no one was at home, and so they broke in. Surprised by Emily Haddock, who had remained home from school that day because she was recovering from strep throat, they shot her and left. Her body was later found by her grandfather.
Nearly 500 people packed the Hope Mills First Baptist Church for Emily's funeral Tuesday afternoon. The family has set up a Guestbook that people are welcome to sign.
No evidence has yet surfaced indicating that there was an overtly racial motive for the crime, although in the wake of the Jena Six fiasco, there is nationwide concern amongst whites that the hero treatment accorded the Jena Six by the national black community might spur a rash of copycat "black-on-white" crimes.
The rest of this good newspaper article contains some background information on the workings of the North Carolina justice system. In my opinion, the Daily Dunn Record provided the most professional and balanced coverage of this tragedy.
This crime appears to have been encouraged by a signficant breakdown in the relationship between the court system and the judicial system. North Carolina residents need to identify who was responsible and hold these people accountable. North Carolina residents should also not be swayed by political correctness from their leaders; if the results show that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime, they cannot sweep this information under the rug. Fear of crime should take precedence over fear of racism.