Re "Assigning the Blame in Murder by a Child's Hand," by Mike Downey, Jan. 26: I am deeply saddened by Tiffany Eunick's murder. I am greatly disturbed by the conviction of Lionel Tate, a 13-year-old, in an adult court.
I am puzzled. Where were the adults who were responsible for raising these children? Where were the mothers and fathers, whose role and responsibility it was to protect and teach these children right from wrong? The question, Mike Downey, is why have parents abandoned responsibility for their own children?
Re "Wrestling Defense Fails; Boy, 13, Faces Life," Jan. 26:
In the fantasy world of professional wrestling there is no killing, despite the rhetoric. Did Lionel Tate want to kill Tiffany Eunick in that fatal bout? Did Lionel have any reason to kill Tiffany? Motive is supposed to be one of the elements that must be established in murder cases. The article had nothing about motive outside of Lionel's fascination with "wrestling."
One juror is quoted as saying, "If there was any way that we could have gone with a lesser offense, justified it in any way, and we all wanted to. . . . " This jury could not get beyond Lionel's being motivated to kill. A bigot-image continues to exist in our world that being "black" constitutes a motive to kill. Lionel was convicted of murder, as innumerable blacks before him have been, because he was black.
KENNETH H. BONNELL
As a parent who can't imagine the grief of Tiffany's mom, I am still deeply disturbed by the verdict of life for Lionel. I feel that it is obvious the boy deserved to be punished and that his lawyers should have accepted the offer to let him plead guilty to second-degree murder, where he would serve three years in a delinquency center and 10 years on probation.
I hope with all my heart his appeal brings his sentence to this level. He is too young for this sentence, and the emotional impact of this will be more damaging than helpful in the long run. At least with a shorter sentence he would have a chance to lead a productive life, which in the end is cheaper for society.