Broward News

Teen Killers Won't Get Death

Miami Herald
Ammons, Hooks, Daugherty

I can't say that I don't agree with the Broward State Attorney's Office just-announced decision not to seek the death penalty for the teens involved in the killing of the homeless man last year (see Nikki Waller's story in the Miami Herald here). It's not clear that teenagers Brian Hooks, Tom Daugherty, and Billy Ammons planned to kill Norris Gaynor. They just wanted to inflict some damage in their racism-laced, drug-fueled night of wilding.

I'm not all gung-ho on the death penalty as it is and this just doesn't fit the criteria. They should get life in prison. Prosecutor Brian Cavanagh said the decision was made because of the age of Daugherty, who is 17. The Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty for minors in 2005, I believe. Cavanagh still might have been able to go for the ultimate punishment on Hooks and Ammons, but cited rulings by the Supreme Court on proportionality.

Still, I have to wonder: If it had been three black teens who, say, killed a rich white housewife during a night of violent marauding, would the SAO have made the same decision with the two assailants who were of age? You think the fact that Daugherty and Hooks are suburban white kids and the victim was a homeless black man might have played a role?

[ADDENDUM: For the first time in a year, I didn't scour the Sun-Sentinel this morning. So I missed the fact that Tonya Alanez had the story on the death penalty decision this morning.]

After the jump: The Worst Husband Of 2006


The biggest jerk in Rochelle E.B. Guzman's crime story today isn't Jose Guzman, a 23-year-old man who is accused of abducting and repeatedly raping an 18-year-old girl on Christmas Eve. Guzman is no jerk. If the charges are true, he's a psychopathic monster who belongs in a cage for the rest of his life.

The jerk is the girl's husband. He got into an argument with her while they Christmas-shopped at the Wal Mart on Jog Road near Greenacres in Palm Beach County. Then he got in the car and left her there to walk home at about 9:30 p.m., in the dark of night.

That led to the abduction -- at the point of a machete -- and the attack by Guzman, an El Salvadorian migrant worker, and another unidentified assailant, according to police. Then more than seven hours of rape and humilation, with Bud Light apparently playing a key role ("Always Worth It"? -- I think not). And none of it would have happened if her husband wasn't an unspeakable ass. PBSO Det. Robert Falbe told Gilken: "He (her husband) was pretty distraught at the hospital. You get in a little tiff and you take the car and let her walk home ... He was beating himself up."

Put in a punch for the Pulp, hombre.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman