Michael Ledford’s attorneys want the jury to believe that Ledford is not responsible for murder and rape — is not responsible for any of the rapes he committed — because he once fell out of a tree.
If they believe that he is utterly incapable of controlling himself, and that he must rape and kill, then where were they when he was released from prison? Why didn’t these experts — or rather their peers, somebody from the cohort of prison psychiatrists — make the case that Ledford should have been committed to an institution upon release from prison? For surely he has not fallen out of another tree since his release: he has not changed. If he was that dangerous and that crazy a few years ago, why did nobody do anything then?
They did nothing, the prison psychiatrists, the parole officers, the lawyers, because they do not believe in incarceration. They did nothing, the forensic psychiatrists, because too many of them view their role as freeing people from prison, not keeping them there.
The only time these people hoist themselves out of their own self-righteous fogs of misplaced empathy and acknowledge that their “clientele” are, indeed, dangerous and prone to rape and kill again, is after one of them has been caught raping and killing and thus faces the chair.
Then they admit what they have know all along: the people they force on the rest of us, through a catalog of defense tricks, including the mess they’ve made of determining culpability at sentencing — are very, very dangerous.
I admit I have a difficult time writing about this. Maybe tomorrow I’ll calm down. It reminds me too much of the psychiatric passes given to my own rapist, a violent, terrifying, serial predator who, I was told, got time knocked off one sentence for being mentally slow, then somehow miraculously stopped being slow in prison and obtained — of all things — a “psychology degree,” which got more time knocked off his sentence. Many are the hands that contributed to that release.
Which enabled him to go back to sexually torturing elderly women all the sooner, and if there was any real content to his prison “degree” (which I doubt), it merely provided him with pointers for busking up the horror-show. Frankly, I didn’t find him slow at all. I found him methodical and very good at his craft. I found him impulsive — and details of his prior record bore this out — but also perfectly capable of exercising control. Crazy? Sure. As crazy as he wanted to be.
Then again, I don’t have one of those psychology degrees.
So it is difficult for me to watch a spectacle like the Ledford sentencing without wishing to track down the cawling idiot — a graduate student or a professor, no doubt, in need of a beard trim and some source of self-esteem not connected to identifying with society’s predators — who got all titillated trotting over to the prison and pretending to teach my rapist “psychology,” so he could get out of prison early.
This leaves me wondering what pointers Ledford picked up on his own journey through the system. What did he learn to say, to position himself as a victim in the eyes of the parole officers and psychiatrists and defense lawyers who helped him minimize his last sentence and avoid re-incarceration while he violated parole repeatedly, all the while gaining confidence that no consequence would accrue because no consequence did accrue.
And then he killed Jennifer Ewing.