• 50°

Editorial: Frustrating end to case

Charging Reginald Weeks Jr. with first-degree murder and rape in the death of his stepdaughter was easy compared to the job District Attorney Bill Kenerly faced in this case: proving Weeks’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
He probably is as frustrated with the results as the victim’s family.
In an arrangement being debated all over the county, Kenerly accepted an Alford plea from Weeks ó a plea that lets Weeks avoid pleading guilty while still accepting a prison term. After spending most of the past two years in jail, he faces seven to eight more years behind bars.
It hardly seems fair, considering the brutal stabbing death 18-year-old Brittany Loritts suffered ó and all the unknown circumstances that led up to it. Brittany’s mother hired her own lawyer and never made a statement to the district attorney, despite requests to do so. A lot of unanswered questions linger over this case.
In an ideal world, Kenerly would have pushed for first-degree murder anyway. But the legal system does not operate in such a world, and Kenerly knows that better than anyone. Unpredictable jurors, inconsistent witnesses and other factors can thwart the prosecution. With the mother’s lack of cooperation and an absence of physical evidence ó and plenty of experience with Rowan County juries ó Kenerly agreed to the plea rather than risk a possible verdict of not guilty.
Brittany’s father and other relatives are upset, as they should be. They were hoping for an eye for an eye, or at least a life sentence. Murder and compromise don’t go together. The family can be mad at Kenerly all they want, but they should also be angry about the circumstances that painted the district attorney into this uncomfortable corner ó a meticulous murderer who left no DNA behind and the lack of witnesses.
Often cases that look like a slam dunks to the public after reading a few details in the newspaper are not. Case in point: Billy Cleveland, the man who admitted shooting his wife three times as she lay in a bathtub. It looked like a clear-cut case of first-degree murder. Kenerly sought the death penalty, initially, but had to drop that after potential jurors debated the possible sentence in the jury assembly room. Ultimately, the jury found Cleveland guilty of only second-degree murder. The judge gave that killer the stiffest sentence possible, 20 to 25 years.
Under this deal, Weeks gets 109 to 140 months, with some two years already served. That’s similar to the second-degree murder sentence given last week to Christopher Crocker who, at age 15, caused a fatal accident that killed a Rowan County woman. These crimes don’t seem on par with each other, but such is the world of justice.

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County

College

Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park

Lifestyle

History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County

Business

‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove

Coronavirus

Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations

Education

‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year

Columns

Ester Marsh: What body type are you?

Nation/World

The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone

Nation/World

Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million

Nation/World

US, China agree to cooperate on climate crisis with urgency

Nation/World

Sikh community calls for gun reforms after FedEx shooting

High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs

Nation/World

FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight

Crime

Gastonia man sentenced for crash into restaurant that killed his daughter, daughter-in-law

Nation/World

Some call for charges after video of police shooting 13-year-old in Chicago

Business

State unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March

Coronavirus

NASCAR approach to virus vaccine varies greatly

News

Judge rejects Cherokee challenge against new casino in Kings Mountain

Elections

Jackson tops NC Senate fundraising; Walker coffers also full

Local

Kiwanis Pancake Festival serves thousands of flapjacks for charity

Coronavirus

Rowan remains in state’s middle, yellow tier for COVID-19 community spread