Getting Justice for Coach Ed Thomas


There are some things in this world that drive me absolutely nuts.  One of which is when someone commits a horrible crime and then pleads not-guilty by reason of insanity.  True, these people may be sick and need mental help from professionals rather than reformed by their state penitentiary but I am asking why they deserve it.  The most unacceptable claim is when it comes on a murder trial.  We are talking about giving someone a life sentence, or in some states the death sentence, but at the same time are worried about their mental health?  Why on Earth would you send someone to a mental hospital that has no chance of getting out of prison to interact with the public ever again?  We have all heard the saying “lock ‘em up and throw away the key” and I think it is time we start doing that.

beckerBecker is now on trial for the murder of Ed Thomas and has admitted to shooting the coach.  He also claims that he was “devil who turned kids into dead people”.  He said that he felt no guilt or shame in killing the coach, yet wept while giving his confession.  Why would he cry if he felt no guilt or shame?  Seems to me that he was feeling bad (guilt) or remorseful (shame) for what he did.  Becker’s mother, Joan took the stand today and testified that Mark was hospitalized three different times for mental illness before taking the life of Ed Thomas.  She also described the fall from outgoing kid to a depressed and withdrawn college student who wouldn’t even recognize his parents during an episode.

My anger for the not-guilty by reason of insanity plea came bubbling to the surface after reading about the trial of Mark Becker.  For those of you who do not know or do not remember, allow me to refresh.  On June 24, 2009 Mark Becker walked calmly into the Aplington-Parkersburg football locker room and shot his former coach, Ed Thomas, 7 times including 4 to the head.  He was supposed to have gone to a psychiatric ward the weekend before after leading police on a high speed chase, but somehow was not admitted.  The man he shot was leader of the Parkersburg community.  He had lead the rebuilding efforts after a tornado tore the town apart in 2008.  He had coached for 37 years and had put many players in the NFL.  He was known by all and had coached many generations in Parkersburg.

I am not here saying that this kid is not a lunatic.  I will be the first one to say he was definitely suffering some sort of mental breakdown, but my question is why are they even having a trial?  He admitted to committing cold blooded murder.  He murdered a father and took from a community the rock that they leaned on.  He might be insane, but to me that doesn’t get you off the hook for taking someone else’s life.  For those of you who say he needs help, think about if it was your loved one that was gunned down for “being a devil”.  How would you feel knowing that the person who killed your loved one was getting mental treatment at a hospital rather than serving hard time in a prison?  The fact is he may need help, but he doesn’t deserve help.  I say put the kid in a padded room, shove his food through a slot and toss that key away.


KGAN News 2

The Huffington Post

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