Sunday, April 12, 2009

Yeah, it sure took enough, didn't it?

...or, Another failure of the justice system, maybe?...

Cinco Ranch High School student Spenser Vogt lived in a comfortable gated neighborhood in Katy, drove a nice sports car, worked at a Wal-Mart and had just been accepted into college.
Lee Carl Banks III lived with his mother in a poorly kept south Houston apartment complex after being expelled from Yates High School. He had no car and no job, and was wanted in a Harris County courtroom to explain why he had botched his probation.
Police say they may never know exactly why the pair’s second face-to-face meeting on March 27 turned violent, but said Banks eventually confessed to shooting Vogt so he could steal the victim’s 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse and other items.
Interviews and public records suggest Banks, a former Yates High School drum major and one-time aspiring journalist, had problems controlling his temper.
One Yates High School instructor said she was so badly frightened when Banks lunged at her in 2007 that she considered quitting her job. Banks later sent an e-mail to fellow students threatening the teacher’s life.
Court records also show Banks was arrested last year on allegations of assaulting a former boyfriend and damaging his apartment.
Yates magnet school coordinator Myrtice Newhouse said Banks became belligerent when she asked for a medical excuse because he had missed class one day.
She said Banks followed her out of her office, then lunged at her in front of a school police officer.
“He just lost his mind,” Newhouse said. “He was hollering, screaming. It made me contemplate quitting. It frightened me that bad.”
In March 2008, Houston police arrested Banks on allegations that he struck his then-boyfriend and pushed him into a window.
He pleaded guilty to Class A assault of a family member and was placed on deferred adjudication for one year, but failed to comply with his probation, court records show.
Prosecutors sought to revoke Banks’ probation and convict him of the assault charge, saying he hadn’t taken part in a domestic violence treatment program and had not paid court fees.
He was arrested March 18 — nine days before the killing — then released from jail with orders to return to court March 30 for a probation revocation hearing.

Like one of the commenters said, "So it took two attacks, two arrests (with two releases), a 'botched' probation and a murder to finally get him locked up?" The guy should have been locked up, indeed, and hopefully now he will be, but it really is a shame that it took the death of an innocent to do it. Ultimately I don't think it was Spenser Vogt's fault that he got killed, but it deserves to be asked if he'd still be alive if he'd exercised better judgment. And I don't think he was as naive as someone like, say, Kirsten Brydum, but I definitely think that naivete played a prominent role in his death. At any rate, I don't see why my rights -- or any other American's rights -- should be restricted any more than they already are just because pieces of human debris like Lee Carl Banks don't think they have to obey the rules of civil society. That seems to me to be punishing us for his crime. And that, well, that just ain't right.