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Let The Punishment Fit The Crime . . .

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The outpouring comments calling for a public lynching, to metering out the same cold-blooded execution, in order to save taxpayers the expense of housing two teenagers, who brazenly shot to death a 13-month-old baby, is a very fiery and divisive topic.

One cannot argue that the crime committed by these two teenagers is not heinous, and that the punishment administered should be of equal measure, but our system is one of due process, where an individual is considered innocent until proven guilty.

If we are to subjugate thoughts of retribution, we need to let our justice system, no matter how imperfect we think it to be, run its course, and after all the facts have been presented and examined, whatever verdict and punishment is rendered by the court, is what the accused should have to contend with.

Once we allow ourselves to entertain the notion of dispelling due process and exacting revenge for nefarious acts of violence, are we any better than the perpetrators, when in the guise of being law-abiding citizens, we trample and ignore their rights?

Sherry West was pushing her baby Antonio in his stroller when two teenagers accosted her and demanded money. When she refused and insisted she had no money to give them, the elder of the two, whom she later identified as De’Marquis Elkins, threatened to shoot her, and her baby as well.

West wrestled with her two assailants. Neither could snatch her purse. Miffed by their futile struggle, Elkins allegedly carried out his threat. He shot West in the leg; another bullet grazed her head, and then with depraved indifference shot her baby between the eyes.

Would the outcome have been different if West had just given Elkins and his 15-year-old accomplice, Dominique Lane, her purse?

The coastal city of Brunswick, Georgia is appalled that such a ghastly incident could have occurred in their small close-knit community. Witnesses tipped police that Lane was seen in the backseat of a car driving away from the scene of the shooting.

Police using West’s description that her attackers were African-American teenagers, concentrated their investigation on the surrounding schools’ absentee records, and by going door to door. West identified a mug shot of Elkins out of the twenty-four she looked at, unbeknownst that the police already had him in custody.

Although his aunt, Katrina Elkins, stated that he dined with her at breakfast, which was an hour before the shooting occurred, Brunswick police spokesman, Todd Rhodes, says authorities have sufficient reasons to charge Elkins.

Verdell Hunter characterized her grandson, Lane, as a baby himself, not a baby killer.

West’s mournful depiction of what happened to her and Antonio will no doubt sway public sentiment that our judicial system should be abolished in this particular case.

Derisive comments querying if President Barack Obama had a son, would he likely to be of the same temperament as Elkins, only serves to fuel hatred and propagate racial discord.

There will be no winners in this case.

The parents of Antonio Santiago demand justice. West’s says she can never forgive her baby’s killer. “I hope the shooter dies,” she cried. “A life for a life.”

One can only hope that justice will truly be served.

A long drawn out battle is brewing, with Elkins’ lawyer proclaiming his client’s innocence. Lane’s mother, Brenda Moses, claims that her son is a victim and doesn’t know Elkins.

In the end we should not rush to judgment, but ensure that these are the individuals, who tried to rob a mother and ended up killing her 13-month-old son.

When these allegations are proven in the court of law, and not by the court of public opinion, then by all means let the punishment fit the crime.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

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Affairs of the Heart . . .

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Affairs of the heart, which leads to uncontrollable crimes of passion, can happen anywhere and at anytime.

The insatiable desire to exact a measure of revenge when another suitor has captured your lover’s affections is a testament to the destructive force that drives relatively sane individuals to commit murder.

Although Marine officials have not released an official statement, one can only surmise that when their investigation has concluded, the facts will reveal that there had been a romantic entanglement that destroyed the careers and lives of three promising young Marines.

Why else would Marine Sgt. Eusebio Lopez, 25, of Pacifica, California, throw away such a promising military career by murdering two of his comrades and then killing himself?

The bodies of Lance Cpl. Sara Castromata, 19, of Oakley, California, and Cpl. Jacob Wooley, 23, of Guntown, Mississippi, were discovered together on Thursday night, in a room at the Taylor Halls barracks at Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia.

Sgt. Lopez body was discovered in the same hall, but in a different location than those of his two colleagues.

What drove him to commit such a horrific act?

The Marine Corps will no doubt keep claiming that the investigation is ongoing and they do not know the motive for the double murders/suicide. Everyone else will speculate and arrive at the same conclusion.

A love triangle ensnared them all, and Sgt. Lopez, perhaps not knowing how to control his emotions and no one to confide in, took matters into his own hands.

Quantico Base is known as the crossroads of the Marine Corps, where officers receive their basic training, but in the case of these three decorated Marines, perhaps another lesson would have been more suitable.

Affairs of the heart that goes awry ultimately have a very disastrous ending.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

Have You Seen Her?

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Toni Enclade cannot bring herself to think that her daughter is dead.

Although almost three weeks have passed since Terrilynn Monette disappeared in New Orleans, her despondent mother still clings to hope that somehow her daughter is still alive.

The 26-year-old elementary teacher was last seen leaving a parking lot near the Lakeview neighborhood bar, Parlay’s, where she had been celebrating her nomination for teacher of the year with a group of friends.

If the accounts of what happened on that ill-fated night are true, then Monette should have never been allowed to get behind the wheel.

Monette allegedly was so inebriated that the bartender felt compelled to cut off her alcohol consumption. Furthermore she told friends that she was going to sleep in her car because she knew she was too intoxicated to drive home.

This is where I am completely baffled.

If I am in the company of friends, and I see that one of them has drunk themselves into stupor, would it not be incumbent on me to make sure they get home safely?

Yet in the case of Monette, no one offered. Not the bartender, who clearly could have called her a cab, and not her friends, who readily accepted the fact that she would try to sleep it off in her car.

This act of concern for Monette’s well-being would have surely made the outcome of that night on March 2nd entirely different.  What their inactions have caused is a mother’s mournful plea that someone would come forth with any information that could shed a modicum of light on her daughter’s whereabouts.

Although the investigation is still ongoing, as each day passes, the prospect of finding the Long Beach, California native grows dim.

Equusearch, the rescue organization headquartered in Dickinson Texas, have suspended their efforts after an intensive and exhaustive search of the bayous failed to produce Monette or the 2012 black Honda Accord she was driving.

Enclade does not believe the accounts of what happened that night. She claims her daughter would never sleep in her car. She steadfastly believes that her daughter was abducted, although surveillance cameras show her driving out of the parking lot alone.

“Where is my daughter,” she cries. “Where is her car?”

Police have questioned a man last seen talking to Monette in the parking lot, but for now he is not a suspect.

What has happened to Monette? Have you seen her?

Terrilynn Monette

If so please reach out to the New Orleans Police Dept at  (504) 821-2222 or to Texas EquuSearch at (281) 309-9500.

Whatever information you have, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, may help solve the mystery of this beloved teacher’s disappearance.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

In My Brother’s House . . .

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All week leading up to Super Bowl XLVI, friends and colleagues were soliciting my thoughts on who would win the game.

“How prophetic,” I answered, “would it be for Eli to win, in the house his brother, Peyton built.”

Perhaps it was idealistic thinking on my part, but my line of reasoning was simply this . . . if Peyton Manning is not going to be a part of the Colts organization going forward, why shouldn’t my last memory of Lucas Stadium be of a Manning winning the Super Bowl.

Much to the chagrin of my friends and colleagues, my perspicaciousness for picking the winning side in ironic situations has been proven once again.

Four years ago, I was the only one among my colleagues and friends admiring the irony of the New England Patriots’ perfect season suffering one Giant loss.

Super Bowl XLVI was a riveting game that had those around me glued to their seats. I on the other hand watched with keen interest at the unfolding irony that was playing out:

  1. The Giants were not supposed to be in the Super Bowl, given the fact that many doubted them, when the team’s record was 7-7.
  2. Tom Coughlin many argued and demanded should be fired for the team’s losing record up to that point.
  3. GM Jerry Reese was highly criticized for not making any offseason acquisitions to improve the team.
  4. Eli Manning should be traded, and he would never be an elite quarterback like Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees.

Perhaps all those naysayers and prognosticators of negativity are not true Giants Fans to begin with.

The New York Giants once again have proven those detractors wrong by shutting down the vaunted New England Patriots offense.

A low scoring game dominated by defense, in which the Giants prevailed 21-17.

Eli Manning once again walked away with the Most Valuable Player award. A fitting tribute since he finished the season, the same way he started it, by leading his team on another fourth quarter comeback.

A Giants season filled with trials and tribulations, but through it all Tom Coughlin’s conviction never wavered . . . down 10 to 9 at half time, he simply told his players, “We can play better than this, and finish.”

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

A Hero Lost, But Not Forgotten . . .

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$770, and a cheap wristwatch have deprived Peter Figoski’s four daughters from being with him on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

The decorated police officer, and devoted father wanted nothing more than to celebrate the coming new year with his daughters. A dream that will go unrealized, and unfilled, largely in part because of the actions of five individuals, and their bungled attempt to rob a marijuana dealer.

Figoski and his partner Glenn Estrada were backing up two other officers responding to a 2 a.m. robbery call at a home located on Pine St., in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. As the first arriving officers were questioning the pistol-whipped drug dealer, and the two suspects, who had duped them into thinking that they were neighbors trying to help; Lamont Pride, 27, and Kevin Santos, 30, hid in a storage room at the front of the basement.

The officers however became suspicious as Nelson Morales, 27, the purported ringleader and nephew of the landlord, and Ariel Tejada, 22, gave very descriptive details about the weapons used in the assault.

As the officers continued to question the trio, Pride and Santos attempted to flee and ran into in Figoski and Estrada. A deadly scuffle ensued, resulting in Pride shooting Officer Figoski in the face.

Officer Estrada hearing the shot broke off his skirmish with Santos, and chased Pride for two blocks, finally subduing and restraining him with Figoski’s handcuffs. Estrada must be commended for showing extraordinary restraint since it would have been easy to exact vengeance for his wounded partner.

Figoski was taken to Jamaica Medical Center, but died shortly thereafter at 7:17 a.m.

A fifth suspect, Michael Velez, 21, perhaps trying to plant the seeds for his own defense, claimed ignorance in the botched burglary attempt. In a jailhouse interview, Velez, stated he was only doing a favor for a friend, and was surprised and shocked when Pride brandished the 9-mm. Ruger.

He further expressed remorse for slain Officer Figoski, and his family. A somewhat dubious sentiment when Velez, for all intents and purposes was in a position to stop the subsequent events by flagging down a police officer or calling 911 as the other four perpetrators proceeded with the home invasion.

What Velez, did however when the Gold Nissan Maxima he occupied  was blocked by an arriving squad car, slipped unseen from the vehicle and walked casually to a nearby bar. He then phoned for a livery cab and asked to be driven to Queens. Police used surveillance video and tracked down Velez, who was found hiding out at his cousin’s house.

Figoski’s daughters: Christine, 20; Caitlyn, 18; Caroline, 16; Corinne, 14; whom he hoped to shield from the depraved world he worked in, can take solace in the fact their father’s killers were caught and will be brought to justice.

A very small consolation for a death that perhaps could have been avoided if, Judge Evelyn Laporte, had not denied a bail request of $2,500 for Lamont Pride, on an earlier drug bust.

Ironically, the gun that killed Detective Figoski (awarded posthumously) was purchased from Dance’s Sporting Goods, in Colonial Heights, Virginia. 21-years-ago, a stray bullet from a gun purchased from the same store, struck and killed 9-month-old Rayvon Jamison while in his walker.

Overwhelming public support and outpouring affection will enable Figoski’s dream that all of his daughters get  a college education, to reach fruition, through the Peter Figoski’s Scholarship Fund, which has amassed $662,000 to date.

A throng of 20,000 misty-eyed officers, relatives, and friends on 12/19/2011 came to pay their respects for a fallen hero.

In a touching a moment, Figoski’s youngest daughters rested their hands on their father’s casket one last time.

Perhaps summoning strength from their father, who was being hailed and saluted as a hero, and wanting nothing more than to trade the accolades for the chance to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with him again.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

Same Formula . . . Different Outcome.

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Although I wrote about this formula before, its destructive power never ceases to amaze me. It does not discriminate. It spins such an intricate web of deceit that it traps not only its victim, but the perpetrator as well.

Once in the tentacles of its malevolent clutches, most fall into an abyss where seemingly, there is no escape. Individuals from all walks of life, economic prowess, upstanding citizens with impeccable reputations, have all fallen victim to this formula’s unceasing calamitous power.

There is nothing new about this formula, D + A = Murder, only the victims it ensnares:

Scott Peterson failed miserably against it. His carnal lust drove him to murder his wife and unborn child.

Sgt. Edgar Patino was engulfed by it. Fear of exposure pushed him to kill, pregnant Spc. Megan Lynn Touma, and leave her decomposing body in a motel bathtub in North Carolina.

What makes the following incident so unique from the others I’ve mentioned is that this time, the deceiver winded up being the victim as well.

Deception:

Steve McNair, often frequented the Dave & Buster on Opry Mills Drive, in Nashville, and authorities believe that is where he might have met Sahel Kazemi, who worked there as a server.

According to Dave & Buster employees, McNair often dined with family and friends whenever he visited the restaurant. Kazemi as described by her general manager, Tony Farahini, was a solid worker, a workaholic with high energy.

Did this attractive, naïve, twenty-year-old woman, imbued with an unbridled spirit capture the attention of McNair?

Based on the events that followed it would appear so.

Adultery:

Kazemi’s neighbors, who knew her as Jenni, said that she had moved in six months ago, and within a couple days of her moving in, McNair showed up.

One neighbor said that McNair was seen so often at Kazemi’s place that he thought the former Tennessee Titans’ quarterback had moved in.

Another said, it was obvious that Kazemi and McNair were dating, and neither was trying to hide it.

Pictures have surfaced over the web showing the two vacationing together.

Murder:

What went wrong to make this high spirited, fun loving young woman, commit the heinous act of shooting McNair as he slept, and then turning the gun on herself?

The week leading up to these shocking events provides at glimpse into Kazemi’s state of mind:

  • Kazemi was pulled over for DUI on Thursday, July 2, between 1-1:30 AM. McNair and Vent Gordon (a chef at McNair’s restaurant) was allowed to leave the scene via a taxi.
    Kazemi refused to take a breathalyzer test and claimed she was high not drunk.
  • McNair posted her bail later that day.
  • Kazemi purchased a semi automatic pistol late Thursday night.
  • McNair and Kazemi meet at his condo on Saturday morning.
  • Later that afternoon, Kazemi shoots McNair as he slept on the couch before committing suicide.

A classic case of . . . D + A = Murder.

It’s the same old story, boy meets girl, marries girl, and when another catches his eye, tells one of two lies. Either that he’s not married, but as it would appear in the case of McNair,  he duped the unsuspecting woman into believing that he was filing for divorce and would soon be free to marry her.

From all accounts of this incident, Kazemi was in a relationship in which she was not only over head, but lacking the maturity to deal with the prospect that she had been deceived, made irrational decisions, which drove her to commit murder.

Two weeks prior to the murder-suicide, a Decatur resident claimed that Kazemi confided in her about the adulterous affair she was having with McNair.

According to Vera Buckley Mosley, Kazemi shared all the sordid details of how she and McNair met, and how her life was spiraling out of control. Kazemi had also confided to friends that her life wasn’t worth living and she should end it.

Family and friends knew she was dating a married man, but did nothing to dissuade her. Those who claimed to have loved Kazemi should have counseled her, letting her know that the odds were not in her favor that McNair would leave his wife and 4 children for a simple waitress.

McNair, known for his greatness on the football field, and charitable contributions, should have allowed his character and reputation to guide him in staying away from the flirtatious, high spirited young woman.

His legacy is tarnished forever. Some will try to only remember his heroics on the football field. Others for his philanthropic activities. While the rest will only remember him as man who succumbed to the overwhelming deceptive force that eventually cost him his life.

Kazemi wanted nothing more than to be McNair’s wife. Perhaps finally realizing that they wouldn’t be together in life, she planned that they would at least be together in death. According to ballistic evidence, Kazemi shot McNair in the head, twice in the chest and then once again in the head.

It is believed that Kazemi then staged McNair’s body so that she would fall into his lap after she shot herself. Even in death her desire to be with McNair wasn’t fulfilled. Judging by the evidence from the crime scene, it appears that she slid off McNair’s lap and landed at his feet.

How will McNair be remembered by his wife Mechelle?

To get through these harrowing events, Mechelle indicates that she will put her trust in the God.

And what of McNair’s children?

You can use most any measure when you’re speaking of success.

You can measure it in the fancy cars, expensive homes, or dress.

But the measure of your real success,

Is one you cannot spend,

It’s the way your child describes you,

When talking to a friend.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

 

30,000 Jobs Lost!

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The culmination of one operating blunder after another has led to the ultimate fall from grace for the 2nd largest electronic retailer in North America.

Circuit City announced today that it will liquidate its remaining 567 U.S. stores after failing to locate a buyer or a getting an extension on its DIP loan.

The company had three options available:

1. Find a buyer: It was reported the Mexican Tycoon Ricardo Pliego Salianas, who recently purchased a 28% stake in the company as a potential suitor. Others named in acquiring the trouble electronic retailer was Golden Gate Capital and a joint bid by liquidation firms, Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners.

2. Acquire additional financing to keep its doors open.

3. Get an extension on its DIP loan.

With 2.3 billion dollars in debt, Circuit City had very little choice but to liquidate its remaining stores if one of the above conditions weren’t met.

“We are extremely disappointed by this outcome,” James Marcum, acting CEO for Circuit City, said in a statement. “Regrettably for more than 30,000 employees of Circuit City  and our loyal customers, we were unable to reach an agreement with our creditors and lenders to structure a going-concern transaction in the limited timeframe available, and so this is the only path for our company.”

The company’s demise can be traced to Executive mismanagement, outdated inventory, and its inability to compete with its chief rival, Best Buy and other local electronic retailers.

This latest news comes as no surprise for the Richmond, Va. based company whose stock has languished below ten-cents for several months and was delisted on the New York Stock Exchange.

It would seem that Circuit City had built up ill will over the years with consumers as well as its own workforce. The consensus from most of the people that I have spoken to:

Circuit City has been insignificant and going out of business for years. The only ones that didn’t seem to see the writing on the wall was upper management.

The company’s decision to displace knowledgeable high paid associates for inexperienced low paid employees may have hasten its demise.

Perhaps one of Circuit City’s workers summed it up best:

“Board this place up—stick a fork in them, they’re done!”

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

 

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