I thought I had forgotten this case until this day, before we get there lets go back in time to around 2004 I was working Loss Prevention for major retailer (name withheld) and I spotted a youngster (later to be found out was only 13) selecting and concealing store merchandise in a back pack he had with him. I followed him through store until he exited store. In accordance with store policy I IDed myself as Loss Prevention and asked him to stop. He kept walking but did notice me. I lightly placed my hand on his shoulder to get his attention in a more direct way but not in an aggressive manner. The young man bit my hand near my thumb (web of hand) and tried to flee. I caught him within 10 to 15 feet put him down on Mall floor and held him until back up arrived. He continued to resist but I held in him in place. Police charged him with “strong arm robbery” due to bite. I declined medical assistance as he never broke my skin but did leave tooth impressions. Both the Police and Mall security were very aware of the young man who had a prior history ( all negative) with Mall over other incidents including shoplifting. I recall thinking this young man was throwing away his life.
Fast forward to present day and this same youngster is now 18/19. There was a knock at my door yesterday afternoon and a lady (name withheld) from the Public Defenders office title Capital Defender Investigator introduced herself. She asked if I recalled (name withheld) name drew a blank but she reminded me of an incident while working for (store name withheld) where I injured my hand or thumb? I said “when the a kid bit me?” she replied yes. She was collecting history on this young man as he is looking at a “Death Sentence” over a charge he is now facing. Details were not given but for death to be option he must have killed someone. Not only that it cant be a simple murder for him to be facing death. In it needs to be “special circumstances” not just a murder. Sadly my prediction was true I was seeing someone years before who was and would be throwing away his life. Now I deal with shoplifting internal and external for a living and this story can be used to show others how what seems like small issue can progress to serious ending. Its my hope, regardless of what happens to this young man, that my telling his story can save just one life from being doomed like his. He was someone’s son and could be any of ours if he aren’t careful. Watch your children’s progress or lack of in all aspects and know what they are doing don’t let this be your child. As a parent I want to share this story so other parents can use this as warning sign. Shoplifting could be gateway to further more serious crimes
Man from DA’s office came to my home today with a court order for me to appear. It will be in penalty phase of his death penalty case. The DA wants to show his violent past I guess
I went to court today but case was delayed till Monday. DA told me there would be no further delays. I will be there 9AM Monday to testify. I did ask the investigator for the DA’s office what this young man did. Yes it was murder but there was financial gain involved as well as he was laying in wait. These issue took the murders (two people were killed) to the level DA needed to seek Death penalty.
I have pondered many times since finding out about this case if there was anything I could have said to this youngster years ago that might have helped avoid this. Probably not but as a Father I have always wondered if I could have helped turn him around years ago. Because I feel this way I want to write this so other parents can take issues like this much more serious with their children and hopefully prevent such a tragedy in their child.
Got to court little after 8AM huge line to get in. Got in about 8:50 DA said they had issue to resolve and I would be called around 10 AM. I was called spent about 5 minutes on stand and left to go home. I can now put this event behind me.
A week and a half later
Verdict in…sort of. Got text from DA’s office penalty phase of trial (that I testified for) resulted in “hung jury”. DA will have meeting with Bosses to decide if they want to retry or not. If they retry I will again be required to testify. So its not over yet as I had hoped.
Once again I am telling this story so other parents can take such issue more seriously and prevent a repeat of this Sad Story.