Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tracy Latimer - A Life Cut Short

Tracy Latimer was a 12 year old girl with cerebral palsy. She went to school, seemed to enjoy it based on comments from her teachers, and most people considered her to be a happy child. She was known to laugh a lot, and she had many friends.

But her father saw things differently. Robert Latimer decided one day to take Tracy for a ride in his truck and then leave her with the car running and a cloth stuffed into the tailpipe. Tracy died.

Robert Latimer tried claiming it was a mercy killing - a compassionate homicide. He claimed that his daughter suffered greatly, and that he did not want her to suffer anymore. No one else ever said that saw that suffering though.

Robert Latimer was arrested and tried for and convicted of second degree murder. After a lengthy legal appeal, all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court, Mr. Latimer received a sentence of life in prison with no parole for at least 10 years.

Mr. Latimer has served 7 years and last week, tried to get parole - day leave so he could go to work. The parole board refused to grant his request – thankfully. The 3 board members at William Head Institution, a minimum security facility on Vancouver Island said they were left with the feeling Robert “Latimer has not developed sufficient insight and understanding of his actions.” The board recommended that Mr. Latimer participate in some counseling and he won’t have another chance to apply for day parole for two years.

Parole Board's Latimer Ruling

Yesterday, Brooke and her mother came to my house for a Holiday party. Like Tracy, Brooke has cerebral palsy. She is also deafblind, tube fed, and has a trach. The one thing Brooke has that Tracy did not is a parent who loves her and respects her.

Brooke’s life, though different than some children her age, is full and rich. Like Tracy, Brooke is happy and laughs a lot – big belly laughs that make everyone around her laugh also. She has friends, goes to school, and has a crush on the host of Blues Clues. She is a vibrant and engaging little girl who has made this world a brighter place. Tracy, unfortunately did not have that chance.

If only the parole board could add years to a person’s sentence, not just reduce a sentence….


mommy~dearest said...

Second degree murder???? Why second degree?!? It was obviously pre-meditated, he meant to do it, he carried it out...Ugh. It turns my stomach that he's not eligable for parole for "at least" 10 years. My god, his daughter has no life now. He took her life away, and it's for a lot more than 10 years.

This guy got off way too easy.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Rah, Rah, Rah, I am sickened by the public support of Tracy's murderer, thank you for this post and for directing me to it. Rah!

Anonymous said...

I have a cousin and friends with CP. They are still freaking PEOPLE. With feelings like the rest of us.

I hadn't heard of this case until I read this post. What this guy did was murder, plain and simple. How hideous.

misshailey said...

I agree that it was pre-meditated murder and that the life of his daughter was worthy. The public support for killing off the disabled is disturbing.

MMC said...

This was an awful situation and a real tragedy. And I know many (most?) will disagree with me. But you left out the fact that Tracey was in constant pain, had underwent numerous surgeries and had another scheduled. Problem was her parents couldn't give her anything stronger than Tylenol for pain-relief. In my mind, at least, that takes it out of the category of what you all are talking about.

I honestly don't think that her dad was judging the quality or value of her life as any less, I honestly think he really did (does) love her and felt like he was doing the "right" thing. You can see more of my thoughts on Tracey and her dad here.