By M. Hughes
All of San Diego and the nation is mourning and outraged by the death of Chelsea King. The pain and heartbreak her family has endured is unimaginable.
As our hearts and prayers go out to the King family, we also need to take a stand to deter these terrible acts from reoccurring. We can be very proud of the outpouring of volunteers and love and support by our community, as well as the resolve and diligence of the authorities searching to find Chelsea. We should be ashamed at the blatant inadequacies, horrible decisions and negligence of our justice system.
John Gardner, the suspect in the Chelsea King case, is also suspected of attacking a jogger in the same Lake Hodges area in December. Why wasn’t he incarcerated then? In a prior conviction, Gardner was labeled a “threat to society” by the evaluating psychiatrist who urged he not be released. Dr. Matthew Carroll wrote in sentencing documents, “There is no known treatment for this type of individual. It is my opinion Gardner would be a continued danger to underage girls in the community.”
Dr. Carroll recommended that Gardner serve the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Why then was he released from prison after only 5 years?
Gardner is listed as living in the Lake Elsinore area on the sex offender registry, not in San Diego. He has been living near Lake Hodges with his parents. Why is his current address incorrect and misleading?
In Ramona, there are 22 registered sex offenders on the Megan’s Law Web site. I urge you to check the Web site for proximity to your home and schools. The link is: www.meganslaw.ca.gov
Six of these criminals in Ramona are listed as using force or violence in addition to the sexual assault. They are Charles Cloud, Robert Jack, John Nygaard, Scott Pennington, Thomas Raney and Charles Sanford. John Minnick is in violation for not reporting his address this year.
Here is a message to elected officials and criminals: We want stiffer penalties and negative psychological reviews to prevent release of sex offenders from prison. We will protect our children! We will NOT tolerate this heinous, criminal behavior! Our justice system has failed us by letting a heartless monster go free. Intelligent, beautiful and sweet Chelsea was robbed of her happy and promising life. The world was deprived of a special angel on Earth.
M. Hughes is a Ramona resident.