Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A brother's reaction

The reaction of Lynne Harper’s brother, Barry, to the acquittal of Steven Truscott of her murder is, I suppose, not altogether surprising, though it is ugly and disappointing. Barry Harper maintains that Steven Truscott is guilty of the rape and murder of his sister in 1959, when he was 15, she was 12, and Truscott was 14.

Barry’s evidence? Steven Truscott was “a tough kid”.

What’s more, Steven Truscott testified that he saw Lynne hitch a ride on Hwy 8, and get into a grey ’59 Chevy. On this score, Barry Harper says, “I could almost swear on a stack of Bibles that she never hitchhiked in her life.”

“Could almost” is another way of saying “can’t.”

What Barry Harper is saying here is that if he were standing before God, he could not look Him in the eye and swear his sister never hitchhiked, that she would not get in a car with a stranger to shorten a trip. He’s not sure. He would not stake his soul or his reputation on the assertion.

But he sure seems willing to stake Steven Truscott’s. Soul, reputation, freedom, even his life till his sentence was commuted.

I understand Barry Harper lost his sister in just about the most horrible way you can lose a family member. And naturally, he wants closure; he wants to know the cops got it right, the courts punished the murderer, that justice was done, at least in so far as it could be. I understand, too, that he must be disappointed now that it wasn’t. But I think it’s wrong, even malicious, of him to maintain what was clearly a legal fiction in the face of substantial evidence of judicial wrongdoing and lazy investigative work. Barry Harper needs to understand now — we all need to — that attitudes like his, based solely on prejudices and not real evidence, were what entrapped someone not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and, what’s worse, allowed someone toxic to remain at large among us.


L-girl said...

In order to find peace, Barry Harper will need to learn that closure cannot come at the expense of another person's life. Closure without justice is only revenge - and revenge can never bring inner peace.

Good posts on this, thanks.

snapple said...

truscott is guilty as originally charged. compensation? i'm not sure the harper family would be interested in receiving it...