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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Hollywood Homicide

Wish that title was about a movie.

But this one's about a murder that took place on Halloween eve in Hollywood, FL.

I've covered lots of homicides as a reporter, and I've seen some pretty terrible crime scenes.

This story, though? One of the worst, for no other reason than the brutality.

You can check it out here.

Since the article first posted, yesterday, I've been bombarded by email with the inevitable questions: "Should the son (the killer in this case) be executed?" "Do you think he was (legally) insane?" "Doesn't this prove that some people should be hospitalized and not imprisoned?" "Is this guy evil, or what?" "Is this guy, crazy, or what?"

Those were just a few of the questions I received. But only the last two on that short list grabbed my attention.

Since I'll be covering this story as the case against the killer proceeds, I can't and won't offer any opinions about it. But even if I could, I don't believe I know how to answer the latter two questions.

My answer in the form of a question might be: Is it possible that they're both right? I know "crazy" is not a medical term. But on the assumption that the reader who emailed me meant "mentally ill" instead of "crazy," isn't it possible that while the act itself and the results are bad/evil, the killer is mentally ill?

Just asking, 'cause I've covered homicides where long after the fact, when I was able to offer an opinion, I expressed concern that the killer was downright evil. Others I wondered if the killer was mentally ill. And still others didn't seem to fit solely in either category. Maybe because the other circumstances encompassed a little of both characteristics.

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