To The Editor:
As reported in The Missourian, on Friday, Oct. 20, Judge Gael Wood rejected a plea agreement that would have amended the second-degree murder charge against two suspects in the death of Kenneth Allen Jr. to involuntary manslaughter.
Judge Wood rejected the plea after reviewing a sentencing assessment report. The two were originally charged with felony murder because Allen died during the commission of another crime, burglary. The bargain carries a 10-year sentence, but at this time I don’t know how much prison time the two might actually serve.
Allen’s daughter, Kathy Allen, has been actively protesting the plea deal.
This plea bargain put forth by county Prosecutor Bob Parks falls on the heels of another plea bargain that reduced the first-degree murder charge against Dennis W. Brooks in the shotgun murders of a Pacific couple to second-degree murder, an agreement which also dropped several related felony charges in the case. Brooks was arrested within hours, and confessed to arguing with the couple, then leaving the apartment, and returning later with a loaded shotgun, and killing the couple.
This agreement will allow Brooks to be eligible for parole in just 10 years according to Judge Wood. One key point of second-degree murder is a lack of premeditation. By Brooks’ own admission, he grabbed his weapon from his home, and loaded it while walking back to the victims’ apartment. In my opinion, this proves premeditation, thus first-degree murder. Judge Wood had also rejected the plea bargain in this case on Nov. 3 of last year, stating that it was too lenient. The plea has since been upheld by Judge Troy Cardona of Jefferson County.
I don’t know all the facts in either of these cases, or in the events leading up to the death of Mr. Allen, but it seems our prosecutor is more concerned with clearing his docket than prosecuting serious crimes. It seems justice has taken a back seat to expediency.