In 1985, an 18-year-old Calabasas High School student, from a prominent Calabasas family, gunned down a schoolmate during a brief, uncharacteristic and emotionally difficult time in both young men's lives. Both of these high-society kids met with circumstances they were unable to deal with--and both resorted to violence. The final outcome was a tragedy for all involved. The Times reported the story as in unfolded with many front-page and front Metro page stories. The Times kept an unbiased viewpoint and simply reported. That 18-year-old was me, and I have now been in prison for over five years, serving a 17-years-to-life sentence.
Now, in 1990, two high-society kids, also from Calabasas of late, have been charged with the murder of their parents. However, the differences in the reporting styles now and then are immense. It is appalling that The Times has decided to become judge, jury and executioner for these two young men. Reporters Johnson and Soble have unequivocally pronounced these two young men guilty as charged. The reporting style fails entirely in any attempt to maintain objectivity and has, in fact, taken on the clear tone of a prosecutor's closing arguments--inherently biased monologues which often stray wildly from fact.
In the interest of justice, I urge you to reconsider your reporting tactics in this case and to report the facts as fact and speculation as speculation, but keep in mind the difference.
ROBERT M. ROSENKRANTZ
San Luis Obispo