January 10, 2016 4:26 pm ET
Flawed system shows more concern for the guilty than the victims
Source: No Justice, No Peace
Photo credit/FOX News: A photo of days gone by for Mr. Fletcher. Where does he go from here?
I had to be there. I had to write the story about the victim rather than the accused.
That focus seems to elude our lame system of justice, by the way.
Despite our society’s views on treating criminals with kid gloves, I felt a sense of obligation to a man who simply wanted to live his life in peace. But, as you know, that dream of tranquility was ripped from his soul, physically and mentally.
The lives of Rick Fletcher and his lovely wife, Jo Ann, took a drastic turn, but not one that the Fletcher’s sought. Instead of enjoying their time together in their later years, the couple’s life together ended up marked with pain and suffering for the remainder of their days.
When I arrived at court, I noticed Yakeem Zavion Wheatley, age 16—the first of two teens sent from the adult court into the “kiddie system” where the accused get more concern than the victims.
I noticed Mr. Wheatley right away, dressed in a blue button front shirt and jeans, sitting on the bench outside the courtroom. He was fidgeting and looking rather scared with his parents seated next to him.
Whatever attitude he had on the horrible day of inhumanity that led him to the courtroom was gone, replaced by the same type of fear that poor Mr. Fletcher probably felt on the day he was brutally assaulted.
You see, Mr. Wheatley was one of the defendants that changed the Fletchers’ lives forever. Despite what any of the liberal, bleeding heart psychoanalysts will tell you, Mr. Wheatley had the ability to make a choice—he could have spared the Fletchers a world of pain and suffering.
In the end, Mr. Wheatley agreed to a plea deal whereby he would forego the adult system by pleading guilty to the vicious assault, for which he was looking at several years confined to a juvenile facility … of course with the stipulation of “treatment.”
Oh yes, we have to give those poor souls “treatment” so that, in the judge’s words, “one day he could become a productive member of society.”
How many times have we heard that one? I don’t have that many fingers and toes. But, how many times has it worked? I have more than enough fingers and toes to determine that one.
The court was only concerned with one finger—the middle one.
Mr. Wheatley’s “sentencing” (I use quotes to imply that it was a joke) did not bring an end to the nightmare for Mr. Fletcher and his wife—a nightmare that started on April 22, 2015, when a man’s life was shattered as he was knocked to the ground unconscious and bleeding by a group of mindless thugs. Those “poor juveniles” kicked, stomped, and beat Mr. Fletcher into a life and death battle, as he suffered near-fatal injuries to his body and brain.
In addition to the severe head trauma, Mr. Fletcher suffered broken ribs, and fracture eye sockets.
Surgeons at the hospital placed Mr. Fletcher in a medically induced coma and gave him a 50% chance of survival. In fact, one of the surgeons said that most people with those types of injuries don’t make it back.
Even though Mr. Fletcher lived, he still faces a lifetime of seizures, constant pain, and psychological trauma.
So, what happened that fateful day that led to Mr. Wheatley and his cohorts destroying the Fletchers’ lives? It was a pretty uneventful day, really. School at BCHS let out early that day for a teachers meeting, and it was not uncommon for many of the students to roam through the quiet Dundalk neighborhood causing havoc and mayhem.
Mr. Fletcher looked out of his front window and saw a large group of juveniles, as described in the police report, fighting on and around his pickup truck. Some were on top of the truck, causing damage to his beloved property.
Mr. Fletcher approached the group and asked them to stop fighting and urged them to get away from his truck.
Anyone who dares to put the blame on Mr. Fletcher for speaking up should be ashamed. He did what every citizen has a right to do—protect his property. He didn’t threaten anyone, or assault anyone. He simply told the group to get away from his property.
Instead of the group dispersing, they swarmed around Mr. Fletcher, who was met with an orgy of violence. During those tumultuous minutes, the incident was actually captured on video by one member of the group as if it was a moment in time to treasure.
Getting back to the “kiddie court” proceedings, much of what Mr. Wheatley said was unintelligible—he simply mumbled when asked questions.
To her credit, Judge Sherie Bailey was very professional and acted in accordance with the protocol afforded to her by the criminal justice system. She crossed every “T” and dotted every “I” in making sure the rights of the two defendants were met.
(Blogger’s note: In the state of Maryland, most cops emphasize the “criminal” in the so-called justice system because it was crafted by liberals to focus on the criminals rather than the victims.)
After all of the procedures to accord the defendant his rights, and after a harsh condemnation of the crime by Judge Bailey, Mr. Wheatley was sent off to “Romper Room”—a.k.a. a juvenile detention center—until he turns 21.
That translates into four years and change.
Following Mr. Wheatley’s departure, the second defendant, 17-year-old Antoine Willie Lawson, entered to face his deal with the devil, or justice system, if you will.
It should be noted that Mr. Lawson came into court wearing the same tennis shoes he wore when he leaped into the air to jump on the head of Mr. Fletcher, who was on the ground unconscious.
This part of the trail moved at a much faster pace since the defendant seemed to be more aware of the proceedings.
Mr. Lawson turned with a tear in his eye to tell his mother that he was sorry. He then apologized to Mr. Fletcher, after which Mr. Lawson was cuffed and led out of the courtroom.
Folks, suffice to say that justice was not served. It was ignored, and the peace it might have brought was destroyed.
The media continues to give coverage to the whole “black lives matter” campaign. However, to me, ALL LIVES SHOULD MATTER. Until we reach that goal, there will be many more stories like Mr. Fletcher’s.
On a final note, Georgia Bartrum, president of the Harbor View Community Association, wanted me to extend a public thanks to Councilman Todd Crandell; Delegates Ric Metzgar, Robin Grammer, and Bob Long; and Senator Johnny Sailing for their assistance.