THE KING BROTHERS
DEREK AND ALEX
Great work, great site, but why nothing about the King Brothers? Are you going to have some info on the kids in the political prison system of this state? As you know, all children who are placed in that system of evil are political prisoners of the state. It's now a fight for political rights of all people. Human rights and Civil rights are under attack in this nation of evil political rats. This nation has set up people and Thomas Aquinas taught us that all clear thinking comes from making distinctions. I see this human rights outrage as being nothing but the rape of the rights of all people in a really insane nation of murder
You know the Court System and why the two had to do what both did to get mercy. AND YES MANY PEOPLE ARE STILL AT WORK DOING WHAT CAN BE DONE TO HELP KIDS IN ALL PRISONS. Will you have some comment about the system and the king brother soon? How soon will you update?
THE KING BROTHERS
DEREK AND ALEX
Wed, 27 Nov 2002
Famous Bush Quote
As Florida governor Jeb Bush stated,
"There should be a sensitivity to the fact that a 14-year-old is not a little adult.
This quote was found in a book called "Youth on Trial" This book suggests how 14-year-olds are different, emphasizes the need for sensitive and psycho-legal attention to such differences, and stresses the need for reform in public policy and the law. Thanks to Grisso, Schwartz, their colleagues and the MacArthur Network, perhaps there ultimately will be a kinder, gentler nation, as least as far as juvenile offenders are concerned.
QUESTION: Where is our great Governor now???
I do love the political prison thing but let's face it... it is political. Just happy the two kids didn't get 50 years...
I did get some info from one of the people I do know...this holiday time of year in the system is real bad for kids. Holiday dinners... If the system still is working like it did when he was in juvenile prison (AND THAT IS WHAT HE CALLED IT!) There are no thanksgiving dinners, but you could buy one if you ordered it! If you had the money! And its kind of real evil to buy your food in prison. But that was and is likely the system today! Just hope the kids get something to eat today, but the families hopefully will be with most of the kids in prison on this holiday... I really hope so!
see dawes50 Child Imprisonment Group
Father Val Peter sends out Plea to Citizens
Statement from Father Val J. Peter
Girls and Boys Town:
We regret that today's decision in Pensacola, Florida, is obviously based on retribution and geography and not on what is best for Alex and Derek King.
Florida won't let the King brothers drive a car. They won't let them vote, but they do expect them to understand the complexity of the mediation and agree to the plea bargain.
We urge reconsideration. We ask the recently re-elected governor to intervene. We trust the governor.
It is in these boys' best interests that they move away from all the negative attention they are receiving. Our history of helping children like the King brothers is what is called for here. It is time they are cared for by people who only have their best welfare at heart.
Everyday, they spend in adult prison is a real day in their lives. You can't get around the fact that Alex and Derek were 12 and 13 at the time. Alex is sentenced to 2,555 real days of his young life in prison. Derek is sentenced to 2,920 real days of his very young life in prison.
How will society be served by putting little boys in prison for all of these days? It only furthers their risk of rape and violence in an adult prison? That's not being tough on crime. It's catering to the base instincts of revenge and retribution.
When they come out of this prison in seven or eight years, or whenever, they once again will be surrounded by people who will not have their agenda at heart.
Please join me in raising a human cry. Sending these boys to prison will serve only to be a great expense to the taxpayers of Florida and a great detriment to their development as human beings. This will not bring justice to anyone.
King brothers might be moved to juvenile facility
Prosecutor, judge against agency request
By Ginny Graybiel
Alex and Derek King might not serve their sentences in state prison after all.
The Department of Corrections, which runs the adult prison system, has asked that the boys be transferred to one of the Department of Juvenile Justice's residential facilities, usually reserved for youngsters tried in the juvenile court system.
"This is about what is in the best interest of the two boys," said Department of Corrections spokesman Sterling Ivey. "We certainly have the programs and facilities to house these two boys ... but we also understand that the Department of Juvenile Justice may be able to provide programming or options that we are not."
The Department of Corrections request throws a wrench in the mediated settlement of the complicated case and is strongly opposed by Circuit Judge Frank Bell.
Derek, 14, and Alex, 13, pleaded guilty last month to third-degree murder and arson in Terry King's slaying and the burning of his Cantonment home on Nov. 27, 2001.
Derek, who bashed his 40-year-old father's head with a baseball bat, was sentenced to eight years, to be served at one of the state's two adult prisons designated for young offenders. Alex, who admitted to coming up with the murder plan, was sentenced to seven years, also to be served at one of those prisons.
"This was a compromised plea and sentence, and the parties should now be required to abide by what was presented to the court," Bell wrote in a Nov. 27 letter to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Bell also declared the boys lied at the trial that preceded the mediation by trying to pin the blame for the murder on their acquaintance, Ricky Chavis, a 41-year-old convicted child molester.
"I think it is very clear in this case from the admissions of the King brothers that they killed their father after they had planned the killing and that it was premeditated in nature," Bell wrote.
"It is very clear in this case that they lied under oath on more than one occasion and attempted to shift the blame for this murder on a person that was not even present when their father was killed. To give the King brothers any more consideration than what they have already received would not be in the best interest of anyone."
Prosecutor David Rimmer wrote the Department of Juvenile Justice that transferring the boys would be an "outrageous decision" and chastised the department for attempting to "go behind" the mediated settlement.
In a Dec. 3 letter, he wrote that the boys committed "the most serious of all crimes" and already had received a number of breaks, culminating in the relatively short prison sentences.
Now, Rimmer wrote: "I say, 'Give me a break!'"
On Monday, Rimmer said a transfer to a juvenile facility would be a travesty of justice. "If this request is granted, in my opinion, it will be the moral equivalent of sending them to their room without letting them watch `The Sopranos,' " he said.
Defense attorneys James Stokes and Dennis Corder wrote Bell, imploring that he not oppose the Department of Corrections request.
Throughout the case, the defense lawyers pushed for the boys, charged as adults, to be returned to the juvenile system. Their initial goal was for the brothers to be sent to Girls and Boys Town, a youth rehabilitation facility in Omaha, Neb.
Stokes, who represents Alex, wrote Bell on Nov. 26: "His transfer to a juvenile facility will prepare him to re-enter society upon his release. The juvenile facilities are better designed to deal with someone of Alex's age."
Corder, one of Derek's attorneys, wrote that the Department of Corrections is in the best position to determine an appropriate placement.
"Regardless of whether the facility is labeled `Department of Corrections' or `Department of Juvenile Justice,' Derek still will be incarcerated," he wrote. "The only issue is whether that facility is best suited to help Derek become a productive member of society when he is released."
Attorney Bill Eddins, who mediated the settlement, said Monday he was not weighing in with an opinion. "I think the lawyers are well equipped to deal with that issue, and it's not appropriate for me to become involved," he said.
Twists and turns
The request for the King brothers' transfer adds to the confusion surrounding the case.
In his letter to the Department of Juvenile Justice, Bell said that it would take "several thousands of pages" to familiarize the department with the case about which "people all over the world have opinions."
Immediately after their arrest, the King boys confessed to Escambia County sheriff's investigators and were charged with first-degree murder and arson.
Several months later, they recanted their confessions before a grand jury and said Chavis killed their father. The grand jury then indicted Chavis on first-degree murder and arson charges.
Chavis was acquitted at a jury trial. The verdict was withheld until after the Kings' trial the following week.
The Kings were convicted of second-degree murder without a weapon and arson. Some of the King jurors said they thought Chavis committed the murder in the boys' presence. They said they would not have convicted the boys if they'd known of Chavis' acquittal.
Bell granted the King boys a new trial, saying the state violated their "due process rights."
Bell arranged for Eddins to attempt to mediate a resolution without a retrial.
During the mediation, the boys again confessed to the murder. The prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed on the eight-year sentence for Derek and and seven-year sentence for Alex.
Throughout the proceedings, there has been an outcry from people who are convinced Chavis committed the murder and the brothers are being ruthlessly railroaded. More recently, there's been a wave of people complaining that the boys got off too lightly.
Bell wrote in his letter to the Department of Juvenile Justice that he never knew there was even a possibility of the boys ending up in a juvenile facility as opposed to one of the two adult prisons designated for young offenders.
"I think that it is very important that when people negotiate and bargain for a result that they should be bound by their bargain," Bell wrote.
"At no time was it even remotely mentioned to me that the Department of Corrections would be requesting this transfer. Had I been so advised, it very likely could have been a major factor that would play into my decision on accepting the negotiated plea agreement."
No decision yet
The King boys have been housed at the North Florida Reception Center in Lake Butler, the entry point for adult inmates, since their sentencing.
Department of Corrections officials previously have said the boys would be sent to either the Hillsborough Correctional Institution or the Indian River Correctional Institution.
Now, the officials say they will remain at Lake Butler until the Department of Juvenile Justice makes a final decision on whether to take them or not.
Department of Juvenile Justice placement administrator David Douglass gave no explanation for the Department of Corrections request in the letter to Bell but said the judge's input "is imperative to the decision process." He declined to comment on Monday.
Juvenile Justice spokeswoman Catherine Arnold said Monday the department has received between 55 and 60 requests since 1979 to house juveniles sentenced as adults. It accepted fewer than 20, seven of whom had been convicted of murder.
However, Department of Corrections spokesman Ivey said a transfer to Juvenile Justice is routinely requested for inmates 16 and under.
Ivey said the boys are "doing fine" at Lake Butler. He said they had been interviewed by Department of Juvenile Justice officials.
Juvenile facilities are scattered around the state. Arnold said where the boys could end up would be speculative, but would be based on whether they need to be in a high-, moderate- or low- risk facility, what programs they need, and where beds are available.
Neither Arnold nor Ivey knew when to expect a decision.
From the Daytona News Journal
Tuesday, October 01, 2002
Trying children as adults fails Florida
In 2000, the year 13-year-old Nathaniel Brazill shot and killed teacher Barry Grunow, Florida led the nation in the number of children it forced into the adult courts. Brazill soon became one of them, sentenced to 28 years in prison after pleading guilty.
At the time, few Floridians objected to dooming a child to spend one-third of his life behind bars. But it clearly ate into their consciousness. That's plain from the reaction to the case of Alex and Derek King, the two Panhandle boys accused of killing their father on Nov. 26. The boys -- both tried as adults -- were convicted Sept. 6 of second-degree murder and face 22 years to life in prison.
It's also clear from the flurry of debate surrounding the case of James Jonathan Watson, the 15-year-old New Smyrna Beach boy charged with beating 13-year-old Shane Michael Farrell to death at a local skate park. State Attorney John Tanner is still weighing whether to charge Watson in adult court. It may be that he feels circumstances warrant doing so. But Tanner has a record of favoring justice over vengeance, even in serious cases like this one.
Are Floridians beginning to feel the same way? Perhaps they are -- and for good reason. The state's mania for trying children as adults never served any meaningful purpose -- as the state's own figures demonstrate.
There may be isolated cases where a child -- despite tender years -- is proven to be a cold-blooded killer and worthy of adult sanctions. But far too often, juvenile crime turns out to be a product of adolescent emotion combined with the lack of impulse control so typical of children -- often exacerbated by abuse or neglect.
The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice completed a study in January on the long-term impact of trying children as adults. To ensure accuracy of results, the department "paired" accused children who committed similar crimes. One member of each pair was handled through the juvenile system; the other, through the adult system.
The mere fact the state was able to form 475 such pairs points out the first injustice in the practice of trying children as adults: It isn't administered evenhandedly. Studies from the Justice Policy Institute, a federal think tank, show that minority children are far more likely to face adult prison than white offenders. Boys are also more likely to be tried as adults than girls who commit similar crimes.
Florida's study, however, focused on the effectiveness of moving children to adult court. Law-and-order advocates push the "tough love" approach by saying it shocks children who have gotten into serious trouble back onto the straight and narrow. Florida's study shows exactly the opposite. Almost half of the juvenile offenders tried as adults had been re-arrested after their release -- far more than the rate among children in the juvenile system, and for more serious crimes. Young offenders were also far more likely to break prison rules, join gangs or become victims of violent assaults.
So what is accomplished by punishing kids as adults? Little or nothing constructive -- and it's clear that the Florida criminal-justice community is recognizing that. Under Juvenile Justice Secretary Bill Bankhead, the number of children tried as adults decreased steadily every year, dropping by 44 percent in the fiscal year ending in 2001. And throughout his term, Tanner has shown a nearly identical trend.
These changes don't erase the need for a policy shift in Florida. Even as juvenile-justice experts are seeing the folly of harsh punishment for young offenders, politicians are screaming for even tougher rules. They don't see the growing horror among Floridians at the prospect of locking up troubled kids with hardened criminals for 20 or 30 years.
Florida can't afford to throw away any more young lives -- especially with such conclusive evidence and growing public sentiment leading in the other direction.
What are they thinking!
These are the two facilities from which one will be selected to house the boys. It has occurred to me that the State may well intend to house them in "different" facilities which is why "two" are up for selection. What would you think if your child was locked up here? Fred Dawes
Kids In Prison:
Young Inmates Report Highest Rate of Assault
By Ronnie Greene And Geoff Dougherty
March 19, 2001
Florida's youngest prison inmates are also its most likely victims of reported assaults.
Some attacks come at the hands of adults, others by juveniles. The weapons of choice: locks stuffed in socks used to smash faces, broom sticks, scalding water, food trays, toilet brushes, handmade knives, bare hands.
``The skin was hanging off my face,'' said David Bray, badly burned when inmates doused him with boiling water at Hillsborough Correctional Institution, a prison for juveniles and young adults near Tampa.
Some assaults occurred out of eyesight of correction officers, records show, raising security questions at Florida's prisons for young criminals.
Michael Moore, secretary for the Florida Department of Corrections, downplayed the level of prison violence and questions of lax security. He declined to be interviewed but responded to written questions.
``Incidents will occur in any prison system, but the number of serious incidents in the Florida system is extremely rare,'' Moore wrote to The Herald. ``No prison system can monitor the activity of every inmate every minute of the day.''
A Herald review of prison records covering 1995-1999 found:
Juveniles are four times as likely as adults to report being assaulted in DOC facilities.
The DOC logged 362 assault complaints involving juvenile victims in the five-year period -- one for every two juvenile inmates. Among adults, there was one complaint for every seven adult inmates. The alleged attackers included adults, corrections officers, juveniles and visitors.
After inquiries from The Herald, the prison system conducted its own analysis of abuse complaints and came to generally similar results. But the department noted that its analysis showed that adult-on-adult cases were of a serious nature more often than adult-on-juvenile assaults.
A December audit by Florida's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability reported that, overall, inmate-on-inmate batteries were up 39 percent last year, and inmate batteries against staff up 7 percent. ``Violence within the prisons is on the rise,'' it found.
Children in the adult prison system are nearly 21 times as likely to be assaulted or injured as teens in Department of Juvenile Justice facilities.
Authorities logged one assault complaint for every two youthful DOC inmates, but one such complaint for every 35 youths in juvenile facilities.
The DOC believes it tracks allegations more aggressively than the DJJ, and that comparisons across the juvenile and adult systems are invalid. Moore cautioned: ``Comparing assault allegations across two different agencies is problematic because of the high likelihood that . . . how the data is captured are very different.''
But Mike Forche, assistant chief of investigations for the DJJ inspector general's office, said that if anything, children in adult prisons complain less often than those in juvenile facilities, because they fear being labeled as snitches.
Two prisons for young felons, Hillsborough Correctional and Indian River Correctional, have security set-ups unlike any other Florida prison. Some wings are patrolled by fewer than one officer per dorm. Prison officials say that's because the prisons have small dorms of no more than 24-32 inmates, allowing officers to rove easily.
Inmates say assaults occur in one dorm while an officer patrols another, and that many fights go undetected. Cons serve as lookouts.
The DOC unwittingly helps arm attackers by selling locks to inmates -- at $6.92 apiece -- for lockers. With more than 70,000 inmates in the system, there are about that many locks circulating. After a spate of locker break-ins at Hillsborough Correctional, prison officials there provided a bigger lock for a while -- nearly 12 ounces, up from the normal 6.
One teenage Hillsborough inmate lost an eye in an attack in 1999. In 1998, a Fort Lauderdale teen was assaulted with a lock by a 20-year-old, also at Hillsborough. Last year at Desoto Correctional Institution, an adult prison, a Miami-Dade 16-year-old was attacked with a lock while sleeping.
``There is a simple explanation for why locks are sold to inmates: so they can secure their personal property in lockers,'' C.J. Drake, until recently a DOC spokesman, e-mailed The Herald in the course of interviews involving assault cases.
``No locks at all would result in more serious problems than locks being used as weapons. A rock, bar of soap, shampoo bottle filled with sand or other heavy object in a sock is equally effective as a weapon. A broom, mop handle, toothbrush, paper clip or other common object that inmates have access to can also be made into weapons.''
Why not provide locks that can't be used as weapons, such as combination locks that are permanently attached to lockers?
Prison officials say inmates would merely find other means to attack and that switching to another method would be costly.
Other states do some things differently. North Carolina and New York, both with hundreds of juveniles in the adult prison system, say they have at least one officer per dorm. North Carolina does not provide locks to the majority of juvenile inmates, since most can lock their room doors and don't need locker padlocks. New York, like Florida, sells locks.
Teen was attacked with scalding water
Locks aren't the only weapons.
Bray, then 17, suffered first- and second-degree burns when inmates threw boiling water on him at Hillsborough in 1998. Bray, who has a lengthy juvenile record, said he had been in a gang-related fight with one of the attackers earlier that day, and this was revenge.
For a month, one side of his face was covered with bandages, removed daily so cream could soothe his burn. His burn has faded, but not his memory. After the attack, he filed a grievance against the prison.
``You don't even have enough officers to put in every dorm,'' Bray, now 20, said from his new prison, Gulf Correctional Institution in Wewahitchka in deep North Florida. ``It was completely undermanned.''
He was attacked in a wing of Hillsborough with a minimum staffing of one officer for every three dorms, each with 24-32 inmates.
On the night of the attack, the DOC said there were two officers, ``which exceeded the minimum complement.''
DOC officials contend that the security is adequate and say Hillsborough's staffing is ``equal to or better than'' that of other prisons for the young.
``It's sort of a stretch to say, `If we had an officer in each of these dorms, those things wouldn't have happened,' '' said James Upchurch, the DOC's chief of security operations.
He said attacks can occur in a flash, and sometimes right before officers' eyes. ``I don't think there's any doubt that the kinds of inmates we're getting nowadays are more violent.''
Moore noted that allegations are not always sustained, but said reported assaults are ``taken seriously'' and thoroughly investigated.
However, the DOC could not provide the number of reported assaults sustained between 1995 and 1999, saying the data are not computerized.
The DOC's legal office turned over a database of reported prison assaults during that period only after a legal effort by The Herald lasting several months.
Prison officials said they aggressively prevent assaults, seizing contraband that could be used as weapons 2,400 times last year.
Teenager strangled by older cellmate
But they couldn't prevent the murder behind bars of Michael Myers, a teenager from Broward County, despite warnings that his cellmate was planning violence.
At 15, Myers was arrested for sexually assaulting a relative, 79, who suffered from Alzheimer's and was ``confused and crying about why Michael had hurt her,'' records show. After the latest in a series of horrific acts, the spindly teen came before Broward Circuit Judge Mark Speiser.
Speiser felt strongly that had to be put away, and just as strongly that he needed mental-health counseling. But the judge's options were limited.
``It was like butting your head against the wall,'' Speiser said. ``I wanted to place him in a locked facility for a juvenile offender. But they had no facility. He wasn't mentally incompetent, so I couldn't place him in a forensic facility.''
That left adult prison. He gave Myers 18 years. He went to Martin Correctional.
In 1997, he roomed with six-foot-three Chris Soule, then 20, who was in for robbery, burglary and grand theft in Pinellas County. Soule also had an ``extensive and violent'' prison disciplinary record, records show. He was requesting protective custody because his father was a police officer and other inmates wanted revenge, he said.
When the DOC said he needed specific proof of threats, Soule made his own. ``I will do my best to injure any roommate I may receive in the future,'' he wrote May 8, 1997.
Two weeks later, Myers, then 17, moved in. Two weeks after that, he was killed. ``I want to be straight with you,'' Soule, later convicted of second-degree murder, said at the time, records show. ``I choked him.''
Two Time Losers Stokes and Potter
Pensacola Florida - At the hearing held this afternoon by Judge Frank Bell a plea agreement was announced that makes one shake their head in total disbelief.
The attorneys for Alex and Derek King accepted a plea for the children to be sentenced to 7 years for Alex King and 8 years for Derek King in an adult facility in South Florida which has a so-called juvenile division.
It is in question what the possible thinking could have been on the part of the defense. Concerned Citizens felt that a miracle occurred when Judge Bell through out the guilty verdict on October 17, 2002 and were hopeful that mediation would provide rehabilitation in a juvenile facility such as BoysTown, rather than house the children in an adult facility where their training will be how to become hardened criminals.
Concerned Citizens are outraged that even with all the cards stacked in the defense attorneys favor, they would have let egos, inexperience or intimidation by the State effect their decision and have once again lost on behalf of the boys.
Attorney Jayne Weintraub, who originally was hired by Rosie O’Donnell when concerned citizens contacted her asking for a experienced defense team for the boys, attended the conference and the hearing.
It appears that James Stokes and Sharon Potter would have rather plead the boys lives away than to have allowed a more successful and experienced defense team take the case to a new trial, where recent polls throughout the country showed the boys would have been acquitted of all charges.
This is a major setback for the fight for Justice for children to be treated as children in the State of Florida. The concerned citizens of www.derekandalexking.org are holding out hope that Jayne Weintraub and her firm can find a way to save these children after the inexperienced defense so bungled this case.
Please visit the site where Little Alex will be spending the next several years if he survives, after being placed on National Television and made to describe molestation as a "relationship" for all the world to see. http://www.dc.state.fl.us/facilities/region3/529.html aka Hillsborough CI
The Concerned Citizens throughout the world will continue the fight for Justice for all Children and will continue our support for Alex and Derek King in the hope that these children be placed in a safe place with treatment for the abuse the boys have suffered.
PENSACOLA, Fla. - The fate of two young brothers Alex and Derek King could be known Thursday, as their lawyers and prosecutors likely wrapped up court-ordered negotiations.
Prosecutors and lawyers for Alex and Derek King held perhaps their final negotiation session Wednesday, and mediator Bill Eddins scheduled a news conference for 8:30 a.m. CST Thursday to report on the closed-door talks.
At a news conference last week Eddins said he expected Wednesday's session to be the last.
Circuit Judge Frank Bell took the unusual step of ordering mediation in an effort to settle the case after he threw out a unfair verdict. Judge Bell Stated that due process was violated when the State of Florida argued two different versions of what occurred to two different jury's.
Assistant State Attorney David Rimmer had argued that the boys, 12 and 13 when the crime was committed, were guilty of first-degree premeditated murder based largely on false and in-accurate confessions they gave police but later recanted when they told the Grand Jury they were manipulated, tricked and drugged when told to lie by a convicted Child Molester Ricky Chavis.
A separate jury earlier acquitted Chavis of first-degree murder, but he remains jailed awaiting trial on other charges of accessory after the fact to murder, evidence tampering and sexually molesting Alex.
If the mediation fails, Judge Bell has said he will order a retrial, although the state could appeal that decision. One of the factors Bell cited for reversing the convictions was the state's presentation of conflicting evidence of who wielded the bat in each trial.
The case has become a national rallying point for child advocates who oppose prosecuting juveniles as adults and are hoping for the children to be sent by invitation to BoysTown in Nebraska.
King Brothers’ Mediation Still Unresolved
Pensacola, FL, November 8, 2002 — The mediation that began yesterday, has not reached a resolution between the prosecution and the defense in Alex and Derek King’s case. At a press conference held at the M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building this morning, Bill Eddins announced that another session of mediation will take place next Wednesday at the M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building starting at 8:30 a.m.
Representatives from the state of Florida were present in the first session of mediation to inform all involved parties of the various existing juvenile programs offered by the state. Although the family and defense are still hoping that Alex and Derek King will be sent to Boystown in Nebraska, it appears that the defense and prosecution do not agree on this resolution.
States Attorney Curtis Golden commented, “While we are going into the process with an open mind, this office still has a responsibility to the people of the circuit to do the most responsible thing for the safety of the innocent people of this circuit. And we're going to do that." Given this direction, it seems that District Attorney David Rimmer has not allowed for much leeway in attempts by the defense to end this case before it is forced into a new trial.
Boystown was founded by Father Flanagan nearly 90 years ago and is well known for developing troubled youths into productive citizens. The goal for family members and defense is to see to it that the King brothers receive a chance at a future, free of public scrutiny and away from those who could cause them possible mental or physical harm.
The Never Ending Nightmare of Florida's Children
STATE SPONSORED CHILD ABUSE IN FLORIDA: THE ALEX AND DEREK KING NIGHTMARE
On September 6, 2002, a Florida jury acquitted 13 year old Alex and 14 year old Derek King on the charge of First Degree Murder in the homicide of their father, but found the boys guilty of Second Degree Murder without a weapon. Barely a month after the jury’s decision, the presiding judge threw out the second degree murder charge and ordered mediation in the case. At this stage, the children remain in the Escambia County Jail, where they have been for almost a year.
The prosecution never alleged that then 12 year-old Alex physically participated in the crime, but rather that the child plotted with his older brother to do so. According to the prosecution theory that was rejected by the jury, Derek, then 13, murdered his father with a strangely accurate swing of a missing baseball bat that left the man still posed and sitting in a chair, barely moved from the alleged death position.
Alex, who stands just 4’7”, and Derek, now a growing 14 year old, sit in segregated prison cells, afforded the barest of contact with friends or family. They receive brief exercises in the jail yard, and minimal school instruction, but mostly remain in their cells 24 hours per day. There is no psychological or other counseling available on a routine basis to the boys - and even the prosecution admits that Alex was the victim of a serial pedophile. When Derek showed up for the hearing where the charges were dismissed against him, he stood filthy and disheveled, the result of several days in lockdown for passing a bible and a cookie to another prisoner.
All this for two boys who have been acquitted of first degree murder and who now stand accused but no longer convicted of second degree murder. Most adults would be provided with bail on the charge of second degree murder, especially after being acquitted of the first degree murder charge. These boys could easily grow up and old before being released, guilty or not.
There is no denying that the facts in this case remain hopelessly muddled. While the boys purportedly confessed to conspiring to slay their father, they withdrew these confessions almost immediately and accused a convicted child molester, Ricky Chavis, of committing the act. They stated that he then manipulated them into confessing. From the established facts, the pedophile was sexually abusing Alex and grooming Derek for later abuse.
Indeed, there is a reason why the jury rejected the confessions. Two small boys, without the benefit of any adult to assist them, were questioned at will by experienced police officers after being brought to the station by the pedophile. During the “confessions,” the only adult assistance requested by the boys was a deputy who happened to be a close personal friend of the molester.
The police failed to run a background check on the molester or determine his role in the case prior to questioning or charging the children. Valuable investigative time was lost and forensic evidence destroyed because the police apparently settled on the boys as suspects almost as soon as the crime was discovered.
The questionable investigation and confession were followed by an even more bizarre trial. Prosecutor David Rimmer first presented the adult defendant, Chavis, as the guilty party using the testimony of the two boys, and then in a second trial alleged that the two boys were the guilty parties and committed the actual murder.
For most victims and relatives of child sex abuse, the Chavis and King trails were a horrific public spectacle. Alex appeared to be accused of having a consensual sexual relationship with the molester, as though a diminutive 12 year-old can consent to a relationship with a pedophile. Shackled and in a jail uniform that swam across his shoulders, the small child faced hostile attorneys in both trials - first Chavis’ attorneys who smeared the boy at will, and then in the second trial, the prosecutor.
Alex King’s “love letters” to Chavis were printed on the internet and published by the local paper. Various reporters and news personalities called the relationship a “love triangle” between the child, Chavis and the father. The climax of this horror occurred when the prosecutor badgered the child on the stand, asking him if he loved his abuser more then his father. The coverage was so Dickinsonian and Kafkaesque in nature, that celebrity Rosie O’Donnell later offered financial assistance to the children’s defense.
After hopelessly bungling the trial, Mr. Rimmer alleged to the press that he never believed that the adult defendant committed the actual act of murder, although the evidence that he presented - the testimony of the boys -- indicated that this was the case. Now, several citizens of Florida and elsewhere have filed a complaint with the Florida State Bar Association, alleging, among other things, that Mr. Rimmer deliberately and willfully submitted what he believed to be perjured testimony in at least one of the cases. In his first response to the Bar, Mr. Rimmer made spurious claims against his accusers, which led the Bar Association to warn the prosecutor that he had an ethical obligation to reply to the accusations.
The case has become a bit too personal for Mr. Rimmer, who likely should be removed due to the allegations against him. When several Florida citizens attempted to demonstrate at the courthouse, Mr. Rimmer, who should not be considered a model for other civil servants, referred to the taxpayers as “yellow dogs.”
As for the boys, the question is whether or not they should remain in prison cells during the phase where they have been acquitted of the most serious crime and are still presumed innocent of the lesser allegations. As their emotional and physical health continues to deteriorate, Mr. Rimmer and other state actors fiddle.
This past week, the alternative became clear: Boys Town, the finest institution of its kind in the United States and one with an unparalled success rate, offered to take Alex and Derek on as wards. It would provide a suitable pre-trial facility for holding the children, and very well offers the only hope of rehabilitation for the boys if they are convicted. There is a lockdown facility at Boys Town, though not of the sort used for adults, and a step system designed to rehabilitate and move the boys toward re-entry into society.
Let’s face it - even if the boys were to plead to second degree murder or manslaughter, Boys Town would be a much more preferable placement in this case then any of the alternatives offered by the sinking and sagging institutions in Florida.
It’s time for Judge Bell to follow up on his initial ruling and undo some of the damage done by the reckless and questionable prosecution in this case. Send the King Brothers to Boys Town now. Start the healing process.
Mediation ends for the Day
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
King Brothers’ Mediation Continues
Pensacola, FL, November 7, 2002 - Mediation between the defense and prosecutors began at 8:30 a.m. today and continued until 2:30 p.m. this afternoon.
Shortly after the meetings broke up, it was announced that a press conference would be held tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. to update the public on what has transpired. It was not announced whether a resolution had been reached or was even nearing completion stages at this time.
Family members waited at the courthouse in hopes that a decision would be reached quickly and all this would finally be over. Supporters sat patiently in Internet chat rooms and on bulletin boards awaiting some news to come through.
Most family members and supporters are in agreement with attorneys, James Stokes and Sharon Potter in their attempts to get Alex and Derek sent to Boystown in Nebraska. Considering all they have been through, it is believed it would be the best solution in order for both boys to get the treatment and help they both need.
Boystown was founded by Father Flanagan nearly 90 years ago and develops youth into productive citizens. The goal for family members, defense and supporters is to see to it that both boys receive a chance at a future, free of public scrutiny and away from those who could cause them possible mental or physical harm.
CBS NEWS FILES SUIT
CBS News is suing the Escambia County Sheriff
The network wants to interview youngest child, Alex King for its magazine show, "48 Hours".
The suit says 13-year-old Alex and his mother, Kelly Marino, wrote a letter to Sheriff Ron McNesby, requesting that the interview be allowed.
The letter says King wants to tell his side of the story, but the Sheriff's Office says, its policy is that no cameras are allowed in the jail.
CBS is offering to pay for King to be transported to another secure location for the interview.
King Attorney's Request
The King brothers attorney's James Stokes and Sharon Potter are requesting that the State of Florida and the Honorable Judge Bell allow Alex and Derek King to spend time as juveniles at BoysTown in Nebraska. The mediation date has been set for November 7, 2002 and is expected to last one or two days at most. To date, The prosecutor continues, under the direction of Curtis Golden State Attorney, to insist that the boys be tried and sentenced as adults.
Father Peter from BoysTown has been very generous in his offer to assist and heal Alex and Derek King. Public support is needed in this effort, please write your support to the following:
Mediator William E Eddins
900 N Palafox St
Pensacola Florida 32501-3116
Judge Frank Bell
190 Governmental Center
Pensacola Florida 32501
John Ellis "Jeb" Bush
Governor of Florida
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
State Attorney Curtis Golden
190 Governmental Center
Pensacola, Florida 32501
Still Hope for King Children
A Website and an online Petition have been started by those who feel Governor Bush has not responded to their concerns. Citizens that live in Florida are suggesting that perhaps they should move their children elsewhere. Vacationers are expressing fear that their children may in someway get caught up in the messed up Justice System. Parents are leary to pay for college for their teens in the State of Florida and are looking elsewhere. A Petition can be viewed and signed as well as viewing alternatives for vacations on the websites above.