Tougher sentences could prevent deadly acts

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 22, 2002

Tougher sentencing could play a stronger role in preventing deadly crimes.

Case in point: On Monday, Joey Nichols was ordered to serve two concurrent life sentences in Hollman Correctional Facility in Atmore. Those sentences are for the 2001 murder of Walter Sebastian Booker, and kidnapping of Abigail Lucinda Booker.

How could that have been prevented? Nichols spent just more than one year in prison for the 1998 murder of Dorothy Reno, and rape of Amanda Reno Nichols.

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Of course, Nichols was serving the balance of a 15-year split sentence but that supervision certainly didn't stop him from repeating violent and deadly acts. The sentence for his 1998 offenses does not add up, period.

Also on Monday, Dana Kendrick was sentenced to a 15-year split sentence for killing his brother, William Kendrick, in a drunk driving accident. He was labeled a habitual offender by Judge Ed McFerrin because he had two prior DUI arrests. However, he is required to serve only two years before being released on supervised probation. What if Kendrick would have been held accountable for his two prior DUI offenses? Would his brother still be alive?

Offenders in Butler County are not being held accountable.

What's the point in handing down a 20-year sentence when criminals are only going to serve one-tenth of that time?

The people of Butler County and the people of the State of Alabama are doing their part. They pay taxes to clothe prisoners, feed them and pay their medical bills. The people also serve on the juries that put them in prison.

It is time for judges and the Alabama Department of Corrections to make sure that the will of the people is carried out.