Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Miguel Roman Wrongly Convicted of Murder

I was alerted to this story by reading Sarah's wonderful blog called Preaching to the Choir. Miguel Roman has been behind bars since 1988 for killing 17-year-old Carmen Lopez. The only problem is, recent DNA testing pointed to another man. The Innocence Project reports the following:

Prosecutors in Connecticut arrested a 51-year-old man on Friday in connection with the 1988 murder of a 17-year-old girl after DNA testing of evidence from the crime scene pointed to his involvement.

One of the points Sarah makes, about which I agree totally is that further delays in releasing Mr. Roman are unacceptable. The Innocence Project is working on the case, but supposedly additional DNA testing is to be done prior to any decisions about his release.

This would then bring up the question we discussed before of proper compensation. Not only monetary assistance would be required, but all the other kinds of help one would need to re-enter society after languishing in prison for decades. To right that wrong is not a simple matter.

The man arrested for the crime is Pedro Miranda. He is also accused of killing Mayra Cruz, a 13-year-old who went missing 21 years ago while walking to school. According to the story in the Hartford Courant, the girl's mother has waited all these years for this arrest.

"I prayed all the time that something would happen before I die. I never gave up hope," Cruz said Sunday night.

Last week her prayers were answered when detectives from Connecticut knocked on the door of her Springfield home and told her they were about to arrest Pedro Miranda, 51, a man who had lived in the same Collins Street apartment building as the Cruz family, in the death of her daughter.

"Mayra was a nice, quiet girl and that's why God did this for her because she couldn't rest in peace," Norma Cruz said.
Here's that fascinating vengeance factor again, that "rest in peace" idea. I realize I have no idea what it must feel like to lose a child to violence, but I always find this attitude amazing. What do you think? If the mother is convinced that the deceased daughter can only "rest in peace" if the killer is brought to justice, then perhaps the mother benefits from it. Perhaps she, the mother really gets some kind of closure and peace. What do you think?

And what do you think about Pedro? It sounds like he did rapes and kidnappings and murders his entire life long; often young teens were his victims. What's to be done with him? Do you think he's more of a sex offender or a murderer? I know he's accused of both, but do you think there's a difference between the two? Should the sex offender who murders be treated differently than the violent murderer who isn't driven by lust?

What do you think? Please leave us your opinion.

1 comment:

  1. As of this morning according to the Hartford Courant, Miguel Roman's motion for new trial has not been set for a court date. He has requested to be released pending further action by the court on his motion. The paper has not indicated that there has been any written response by the state. The only comment I have seen from the state prosecutor's office on Roman's case is that they are "reviewing" it.

    But the other guy has been charged and arraigned! He's being held on $7.5 million bond! They're leaving open the possibility of pursuing the death penalty against the other guy.

    They can't have it both ways. They can't pursue their case against Miranda because the DNA and eyewitness testimony points to him, but maintain their conviction against Roman just in case. At some point, they have to choose.

    As for whether Miranda is more sex offender or murderer, for some of these guys the murder is part of the sexual thrill. It isn't just a matter of killing the witness after the fact. The sexual and murderous impulses are inseparable. I don't know where this guy falls. But it's a little infuriating to realize they had this guy on their radar after the first dead girl. I hope the police are reassassing their old investigation so they can learn from it.