Jonathan had a future

Sunday, January 20, 2008

By Carol McClard

The McClard family always thought Jonathan McClard deserved punishment. We are not interested in political correctness, as was mentioned in a Speak Out comment.

The vindictiveness of the prosecution never considered the circumstances and went with the harshest punishment. And, yes, the result was death.

The other two in the so-called triangle still have life and a future to make of what they will. Jonathan is the only one who is dead.

All these young people were immature and making the wrong choices. The result is a tragedy all around.

Jonathan is the only one dead and without the future he could have had if given a chance.

Is it up to Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle to decide if Jonathan could be rehabilitated? The dual-jurisdiction program is in place to do just that. The director of the program testified he would accept Jonathan.

In an article in the Southeast Missourian, Swingle stated that Jonathan's crime was "one of the most premeditated, cold-blooded crimes in the history of the city." Does he compare this with the Timothy Krajcir case? Or on the same level as the Jackson man who had an arsenal of guns in his home and murdered his family and killed himself? Does he consider them the same?

Swingle and Judge David Dolan must have seen Jonathan the same as these mature men.

The dual-jurisdiction program had evaluated Jonathan and testified in court they wanted him in the program. Jonathan took his GED test while being held at the correctional facility in Bowling Green, Mo. He passed with a grade in the 99 percentile for the nation.

The percentage of youths who are successful in the dual-jurisdiction program is high. Jonathan had a bright future and would be alive today if he had seen even a glimmer of hope.

Jonathan's family feels so strongly about the dual-jurisdiction program. Jonathan's case would have still been under Judge Dolan, and the judge would have reviewed the case at the end of Jonathan's time in the dual-jurisdiction program. If the judge felt at that time that Jonathan need to go into the general prison population, that could have happened. Jonathan didn't get that chance.

Carol McClard of Jackson is Jonathan McClard's grandmother.

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