Friday, June 8, 2007

Torturing & Killing for Money: Chasing the American Dream

Step 1. Find a single mother with a child.

Step 2. Date the mother and convince her to marry.

Step 3. Convince the mother that the child needs an insurance policy.

Step 4. Murder the child.

Step 5. Collect the insurance money.

At least, this was Joel Zellmer's plan. He attempted this with several women and took out several insurance policies on their children. Some covered accidental deaths, others covered injuries sustained during car wrecks. Some of his victims recieved blistered hands, burnt lips, a broken leg (alleged car wreck hospital followup showed no broken bones, 3 days later he took the child back in asking for more x-rays and this time a leg was broken), attempted drownings and one actually drowned.

During this latest attempt to collect on insurance money, the firefighters who pulled the little 3 year old girl, Ashley McLellan, out of the pool noticed that the stepfather was not wet, was calm and did not even ask if she was going to live. This tipped off police which led to the above mentioned insurance scams and torture of children.

You can read more here.
Or you can read the report from Andrew Bergh, Attorney. Here is a quote from his publication: In sum, the McLellans’ loss in the courts may be our gain. Zellmer v. Zellmer is a virtual mini-primer on the parental immunity doctrine, and should be consulted in any case involving a minor child’s injury claim against either his parent or stepparent. The opinion not only cites every relevant case in Washington, but also discusses the principles to be employed for the limited exceptions to the rule.

Some questions:

-What do you think would cause a person to do such a thing as this, multiple times?
-What do you think his punishment should be?
-How should the police monitor "trends" like this to ensure that it does not happen for such a sustained amount of time?
-If you were victimized like the childrne who lived in this case, do you think you would forgive him?

1 comment:

Glenna Marshall said...

Well, of course my response as to why he would do this is: he needs the Gospel. No man without Christ is above doing such horrid things. And, until we are finally made perfect in Christ (i.e., His return, or after we die and are in heaven with Christ), it seems that we all have the capacity to do such evil. My pride rares its head and thinks, "NO! I could never do anything like that!" But, without Christ I am lost and a slave to my sin.
I think his punishment....well, first of all--"put him in the jail under the jail" as my dad has always said for those who commit heinous crimes. But, for the lives that he has taken, for right now I hold to capital punishment, for the sake of justice, which I know is a hard stance to take. And I go back and forth on capital punishment all the time. For example, do we hold to that for Old Covenant sake (is it Genesis 6 or 9 maybe?)? What about forgiveness in Christ? That doesn't negate consequences for sin, though. Maybe this question should bleed into your "First for Fridays" category. How should Christians handle capital punishment for murder crimes??