Why does outgoing Commonwealth’s Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn go after white killers more harshly? Is Justice a Matter of Color in Lexington?
We have previously noted how Fayette County Commonwealth’s Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn has a history of “mediating” plea deals to let murderers plead down to manslaughter and get far more lenient sentences. These were crimes in which the murderers “manslaughterers” deliberately tried to kill someone, so you’d think that someone who killed another man in an accident after fleeing police would catch something of a break, right?
by Taylor Six | August 31, 2022 | 4:37 PM EDT
A jury delivered a guilty verdict in the murder trial of 42-year-old Nathaniel Harper, who was charged after he led police on a five-county car chase that resulted in the death of 57-year-old Anthony Moore of Lexington.Harper was convicted of wanton murder, fleeing or evading police and receiving stolen property following an incident on August 29, 2017. The defense team had hoped that Harper would receive a lesser homicide charge such as reckless homicide or second degree manslaughter. The jury made a determination for his sentence on Wednesday afternoon for a total of 36 years with 30 years for the murder charge, one year for receiving stolen property, and five years for fleeing and evading police.
Was Mr Harper determined to go to trial, rather than take a plea bargain? Apparently not:
While the defense team – including Shannon Brooks and Chris Tracy – said there was no question of the truck being stolen and that Harper fled, they questioned whether he should be charged with murder.
“He is guilty of fleeing and receiving stolen property,” Brooks said in closing statements. “You can check those boxes as we stand here now. We concede those.”
They asked their client be charged with reckless homicide, as opposed to wanton murder, defined as the operation of a motor vehicle under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life.
In other words, his attorneys were trying to get Mr Harper a lesser conviction, but knew that conviction on something serious was a given.
Now, I have absolutely no problem with Mr Harper being convicted of murder in this case, and would have had no problem with him being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. It is my position that deliberate murderers should get out of jail on the day that their victims come back to life.
As it is, born on October 1, 1978, and taken into custody on August 29, 2017, if the judge follows the jury’s recommendation, his sentence would not expire until August 29, 2053, when he would be 75 years old. Of course, under Kentucky law, Mr Harper would be eligible for parole after serving 85% of his sentence, or 20 years, whichever is less.
But it has to be asked: why did Commonwealth’s Attorney Red Corn and her subordinates not agree to some serious plea bargain arrangement, when they have so frequently done so in other cases? Is there any obvious difference between Mr Harper and, say, George Boulder IV, who was part of a deliberate, broad-daylight shooting which killed members of another gang, or Xavier Hardin, who deliberately shot an enemy in Fayette Mall, or Jemel Barber, who was allowed to plead down for one of two fatal shootings, or Malachi Jackson, who killed a 15-year-old rival, or James Ragland, who killed a woman outside a Lexington strip club?
Yup, I’ve got the mugshots of all of those fine gentlemen embedded in the links under their names, and it will take only a glance to see what the obvious difference is.
Fortunately, Miss Red Corn is retiring at the end of this month. Less fortunately, it will be Governor Andy Beshear (D-KY) who appoints her replacement, and Miss Red Corn suggested Kimberly Henderson Baird, her first assistant, to Mr Beshear, saying:
It goes without saying that appointing (Baird) would be historical — she would be the first African American woman to serve as Commonwealth’s Attorney in Kentucky. It is time!
Clearly, race is important to Miss Red Corn, who is an Osage Indian.
It is amusing that, in the Lexington Herald-Leader article on Miss Red Corn’s retirement, the newspaper said:
One of her more recent murder convictions was Robert Markham Taylor, (photo here) who was sentenced to 49 years in the brutal attack on University of Kentucky chef Alex Johnson, whose murder generated national headlines. Johnson, 32, was beaten to death, and his body was stuffed into a barrel and dropped into the Kentucky River, where it was found in January 2014.
Yup, you guessed it: both men are white.
Miss Red Corn should not be feted; justice demands that she be gone, and, in reality, she should be prosecuted herself for her obviously discriminatory prosecutorial behavior.
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