girl ipsa loquitur: Anniversary~<br><span style="font-size:78%;">Remembering a murdered boy, a missed opportunity & questioning the system a bit...</span> Email me!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Remembering a murdered boy, a missed opportunity & questioning the system a bit...

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Today is the second anniversary of two significant events in my life. Three years ago today I almost met Justice Kennedy at the 100th anniversary celebration of the historic Riverside County Superior Courthouse. Friends of Girl Ipsa know that this would have been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Being the sort of legal geek that I am... How far behind can the title of "Supreme Court Justice Groupie" be? This was an opportunity that I am unlikely to be given again.

Dork and I had planned to go, coupled in our legal-geekness, together. So, I know what would of happened had I been there, one step behind or in front of Dork, since I know what happened to him. He spoke with Justice Kennedy, shook hands. Had exactly the experience I was hoping to have. It would of been mine as well. Had I been there. But I was not. Which leads me to the second event this day memorializes for me: The death of Jerel Cobbs.

Jerel was 15 years old when he died of a gun shot wound, in a dark and muddy vacant lot, a few yards from where my oldest daughter lay hiding from the man with a gun. Three years later I am still suffocated by tragedy, still made guilty by the thought "Thank God it was not my child." At this very moment my daughter is in the next room. I can touch her. I can speak to her. I can loan her my car so that she may go to the grave of her friend today to cry and leave him flowers. But always hand in hand with that is the knowledge that Jerel's father can not.

No situation I have experienced, no case I've studied, nothing I know of has ever so perfectly placed the competing interests of criminal defendants and society (The People who speak for the victim) in contrast. A boy is dead. He was bright and funny and filled with so much potential. Loved by his family and his friends. Loyal enough to run from safety and into harms way to retrieve his fallen friend. And no excuse or explanation will ever change the fact of his death. Nothing can bring him back. No I'm sorry. No plea of it was not my fault.

On the other side is the man with the gun who has not yet gone to trial. He is being treated in Patton Hospital for mental illness that a judge agrees has made him unable to assist in his own defense. The law is pretty clear on this. If you can not defend yourself, we will not try you. It is a basic tenant of a civilized system. Sanitized of all the details it is both rational and benign.

But in this case, I have to be honest and say, it pisses me off.

I am angry. Angry that the anniversary of Jerel's death (Murder) is passing, again, without any resolution for his family. For his father. For his friends. For my daughter. Another year has passed where the questions remain unanswered and the man with the gun goes on unpunished.

Another year without vindication for The People.

I don't know what the answer is. It's not right to try an incompetent defendant. It is not right to make Jerel's father wait and wait for some vindication, some conclusion, to the nightmare. But I am inclined to think (perhaps I am biased by my rage) that if neither choice is right then the hardship ought to fall on the man with the gun. He chose his actions. He should now suffer his consequences.

I hope to soon add another anniversary to my collection. The anniversary of his conviction. The anniversary of the final resolution.

Kiss your kids today. And take a moment to remember all the parents who no longer can.


Anonymous orachdin said...

I hope the 4th anniversary doesn't pass without a resolution, but with three down and no change, I fear it will, as will a fifth, a sixth, and so on.
So, the question becomes: How is a person to deal with the fact that not all aspects of life are resolved at all, let alone resolved to one's satisfaction.

1:48 PM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

There's always this dichotomy between individual justice and societal justice. It's a philosophy thing that most of us just don't want to think about.

I hope that your daughter will one day be okay - I can't imagine what she must have gone through.


11:40 AM  
Blogger Robin Serena said...

Thank you for sharing a most difficult situation. I ache for all of you and further, for all the thousands in this country in similiar situations. The legal system in this country is in serious trouble. It is an interesting situation for all of us when we are faced with something we believe in theory, but have a hard time accepting in practice.
Here's hoping that not only can this situation reach closure, but that some good will come of it for future incidents.

9:52 PM  
Blogger port4mann said...

to those who knew jerel he was a good guy, funny and shy at the same time. we will miss him so much. the guy who did this is in jail for the rest of his life, im so glad that the guy got what he deserves.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi i'm Kristi Mchsnae and i was a very good friend of Jerrels! We use to hang out every single day back then. Well my dad was Doug Mcshane, the one who shot him. I had ran away from home and asked three of my friends to go steal my dads truck because we use to take it all the time while he was a t work. But this time i wanted to take it to run futher away! I was just a silly teenager who wanted to get out! So they said no problem. I sent Heather Ryan, Jerrel Cobbs, and Butter! My dad was really drunk i guess because he couldn't handle me being gone. It had been two weeks sents he heard from me. Than all of a sudden people are in his front yard late at night pushing his truck down the drive way. They were all wearing hooded sweaters and he couldn't tell who they were, how old they were, or anything. He comes from Ioaw where if someones doing this you have a right to shot them. So he grabbed his shot gun and ran out side. Well he ran acrost the street and my brother had caught one of them and my dad said it looked like he was beating my brother up. So he shot in that directin as a warning shot, but i guess 3 of the BB's from the spray of the shot gun got Jerrel. It killed him. I know it was wrong and it took me forever to get over it, but i really don't think he desurves life like some of you think. I just wanted you to know the whole story. I know Heather Rayn made a whole buch of stuff up about him because he kicked her out of his house. She use to live with us for like 4 months, but my dad got tired of having all kinds of people over all the time so he kicked her and couple other people who were staying there out! But please don't judge him as a cold blooded killer!

8:18 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Kristi it to u forever to get over?? 2017 and I his sister (more like his mom he used to say) feel consumed by a pain that will likely never go away!!! Little girl 2 yrs is not forever, and ur dad Hunted my baby bro down it was wrong and it happened cuz he was trying 2 help u. To the woman who wrote this article thank u for making sure my brother isn't forgotten. Please email me at I'd like to connect with anyone who knew and loved my brother please

11:21 PM  

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