Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yacht Killer Guilty

CNN reports today on the guilty verdict of the so-called child actor who killed two people on their luxury yacht. We discussed this case before, here, when the prosecution announced that it would seek the death penalty.

An Orange County jury found Skylar Deleon, 29, guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and special circumstances for financial gain and multiple victims.

Deleon's attorney had conceded to the jury from the outset that Deleon was guilty but should not be put to death. The penalty phase of the trial will begin Wednesday.

The defense plans to avoid the death penalty by producing witnesses that will describe the horrible abuse young Deleon suffered growing up. Although, I personally feel that childhood abuse is grounds for mitigation, and the law allows it to be considered, I don't hold out much hope. I feel that violent people who are so damaged by childhood abuse that they act like this, should be considered mentally ill. What else could you call it? Executing mentally ill people for expedience or for revenge is not what an enlightened society should be doing in my opinion.

What's your opinion? Is childhood abuse ever an excuse for behaviour like this?


  1. So what do those who were abused as a child who choose to live productive, lawful, lives?

    Again you punish the innocent, Mike.

  2. I don't think so, Weer'd. To treat the guilty with fairness and respect does not punish the innocent.

  3. Mike,

    You excuse the guilty by saying they had a rough childhood and neglect to cover the millions of people who were abused but never committed a serious crime.

    Why isn't every person abused as a child out there killing, robbing, and raping?

    Because the past isn't the sole determination on future or current behavior. Claiming someone is mentally ill because they had a rough child removes the accountability of their actions.

    Where do we draw the line on mental illness? As Weer'd pointed out there are thousands, millions of people that lead productive lives that have been abused or abused worse then this guy. Should we have everyone be tested, those qualifying as abused are handed a "get out of jail free card"?

    If someone isn't accountable for their actions, why should they be allowed to have unfettered access to society?

  4. a rough childhood might explain how a person became a monster, but it cannot excuse any monstrous act.

    such an explanation might still matter. it could justify some amount of lenience for a first-time offender, and it should justify giving the victim-cum-criminal access to therapy or whatever they might need to adequately cope with their old demons, in hopes that might keep them from reoffending. but it doesn't make them any less culpable and shouldn't preclude punishment.

  5. +1 Mike, you are simply disrespecting people who came from a rough start who grew up to become productive human beings. To "treat the guilty with fairness and respect" because of their upbringing essentially states that all people of the same group are all potentially the same monstrosity.

    It's just as rude and insulting as claiming that somehow swaths of gun owners are blood thirsty criminals, or somehow we should feel a kinship with thugs who misuse guns simply because we both have guns.

    Accused lawfully deserve my respect and my fairness....the guilty deserve no respect, and ONLY deserve the fairness dictated in the law.