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Invest 44 cents to help keep California safe

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POSTED March 13, 2010 1:54 a.m.
Want to help make California streets a bit safer for your family and neighbors?

Then spend 44 cents for a stamp and take a few minutes to type out a letter asking the parole board to keep William Walter Nichols behind bars.

You probably do not know who Nichols is but there is a chance you knew Michael McDonald - or another victim like him - who could have been your son, your former classmate, or your friend.

McDonald, a 1973 East Union High graduate, paid a hefty price for Nichols’ inability to control his rage. Nichols laid in wait for his ex-girlfriend – who McDonald was meeting for just the third time – to show up at McDonald’s door. He then revved up his pickup and drove across the lawn. As Susan Medrin started screaming, McDonald did what anyone would do. He went to her defense. But before he could get out the door, he was shot three times with a .357 Magnum. One bullet tore through his heart. Nichols then turned on Susan and shot her twice in the head.

That was 27 years ago.

Come this May, Nichols may again roam California’s streets where who knows what perceived wrong society does to him will send him off into another killing rage.

Nichols did not have a trial. Instead he was sentenced by a judge as part of a plea bargain to two 25 years to life sentences to be served concurrently.

This isn’t Nichols’ first parole hearing. He was eligible for parole after just 14 years.

Think about it. A cold-blooded killer could be out on the streets after serving just 27 years – or 13.5 years per life that he took – for murdering two innocent people who did nothing to him.

If you have a daughter ask yourself if you’d want an ex that murdered her to go free after 27 years after he killed her because she left him.

If you have a son ask yourself if you’d want his killer - who he never met – gun him down in cold blood and then walk free after 27 years.

You may want to know why Nichols never had a trial. Prosecutors didn’t want to risk the defense trying to say he was under diminished capacity because he had gotten himself drunk.

This is the scary part. A man gets high but still has the presence of mind to load his truck with weapons and ammo and then lay in wait to kill two people. Prosecutors feared a smooth talking defense layer could convince a jury to only convict him on manslaughter using the diminished capacity argument. Of course, that would require making Nichols the victim while the two people he killed are unable to play on the emotions of a jury due to the fact he put them six feet under.

How many people do you know who have gotten drunk? Have they gone out and gunned someone down?

That is how warped our justice system is in allowing mitigating circumstances such as allegedly having your judgment blurred by alcohol. You must be evil to begin with. The argument that evil is emboldened by booze ignores the fact that 99.9999999 percent of the people who drink do not go out and kill or do some heinous crime.

You can understand how Michael McDonald’s mom Doris Morgan of Manteca must feel knowing that there is a good chance her son’s killer will again roam the streets of California.

Add to the fact that the prison staff where McDonald is at told her that they have been getting numerous letters supporting Nichols’ release while only one has come in asking the parole board to keep him behind bars.

We all complain about crime. We often feel powerless to do anything about it.

Well, here is a simple and easy way to make sure that another cold-blooded murderer doesn’t end up walking among us.

Simply type out a short note on your computer – or hand write it – asking the parole board to keep Nichols behind bars explaining you have serious reservations about your safety and that of other Californians. Then send it by April 1 to Ironwood State Prison, P.O. Box 2229, 19005 Wileys Wells Road, and Blythe Ca. 92226.

It’ll cost you a few minutes and 44 cents to make California a little safer.
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