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Criminals Lie, Even Cry, to Avoid Justly Deserved Consequences of Their Crimes
Remember, the criminal prime directive says, “Go over as many people as possible. Get away with crime as often as you can! If and when you get caught, do what you have to, including lying, shifting blame, saying whatever people want hear, including confession, as long as you lie and shift the blame, and tease enough to lessen the burden of justly deserved consequences.”
I saw this guideline implemented in a recent Durham (NC) court case. Police had accused Calvin Nicholson of beating down 18-year-old Todd Antonio Douglas about three years ago. In a local newspaper about the court testimony of the director of the Durham Police Department’s homicide squad, we read the following: “First degree murder suspect Calvin Nicholson appeared ‘coming, very truthful and remorseful’ to be when he confessed to fatally shooting another man nearly three years ago as part of an alleged gang initiation ritual, the head of the Durham Police Department’s homicide squad testified Thursday (March 20, 2008). he wanted to participate, according to Sgt. Jack Cates. Citing Nicholson, Cates said the order to do ‘work’ came from a man named Justin Hatch, a co-suspect in the murder who will be tried later. Such orders are common in the gangland arena, Cates added. The sergeant testified that in his experience gang ‘work’ includes robberies, rapes, assaults and even murders. The more serious the crimes people commit, the higher they can rise in the hierarchy of a gang, Cates added.
Nicholson was just 16 years old when he killed Douglas.
I have no doubt that what Detective Cates said in court, based on Nicholson’s confession, is the known killer’s version of the “truth.” Remember, however, that this story, as Nicholson tells it, is designed to minimize the justifiable consequences of his crime as much as possible. According to Nicholson’s so-called confession, he shot Douglas twice, but others in the car also shot in the direction of the 18-year-old. So, according to the defense attorney’s theory of this case, someone else’s bullet could have hit Douglas and probably did. In his confession, Nicholson told police, “I don’t know if I hit him or not.”
Do you see the main guideline? He forgave the debt. He didn’t want to kill Douglas. The Bloods – a so-called street gang – initiated the murder by setting this crime as one of their initiation rites. In this particular murder, Nicholson tried to shift the responsibility from himself to an alleged gang leader – Justin Hatch – who, according to the suspect in this case, handed Nicholson a high-powered weapon and said: “It’s time to shoot something. ” That part of Nicholson’s version of this murderous scenario probably happened pretty much as he described it, although I have questions about who delivered the handgun and who said, “It’s time to shoot something.”
Now here comes the lie, the heart and core of Nicholson’s strategy to lessen the burden of responsibility, and get out with a sentence slightly lighter than the mandatory life sentence he faced if convicted of first degree murder. In his confession to Durham police, Nicholson is quoted as saying: “The reason I fired the gun at [Douglas] was because I thought I wanted to join the gang. By the time I realized I didn’t, it was too late. . . I’m really sorry for what I did and know I don’t want to be a gang member.” How convenient! According to Nicholson, his desire to be a “Blood” ended when a young man’s life seeped away from bullet wounds Why did that epiphany come not before Nicholson started shooting? Here’s the key question that exposes Nicholson’s lie: How could the Bloods initiate several people into the gang when no one knew for sure who fired the killing shot, if someone kill the prize was of initiative?
What a handy epiphany! I’ve had them myself! One in particular that happened in the early fall of 1959 sticks indelibly in my mind. On this particular Sunday, I was relaxing at Clementine’s house. Clementine, a beautiful young woman in Durham, was my girlfriend. Two criminal gangs came by and explained that they had stolen a lot of good stuff from a burglary on Saturday night. They wanted me to help them sell it. They also wanted me to go and help them get it out of the stable because, as they said, it was too much for the two of them to carry. In a valiant but ineffective attempt to save me from myself, Clem begged me not to go, not to leave her. “This won’t take long,” I explained. “Let me get this money and then I’ll come back to you.” Wrong! I never made it back.
Wait a minute, I think now, then no, if the stolen stuff on Sunday is too much for the two of you to carry, how did you put it up on Saturday night? Why didn’t I ask that question? Because crime is stupid and the more you do it, the stupider you become. Why didn’t Nicholson ask Hatch, “Why is killing an innocent person the price for joining this gang? What if I’m not willing to pay that price? Same answer! Crime is stupid! Nicholson, like myself in the late 1950s, had committed crime for so long that, like me then, he teeters on the edge of incurable stupidity.
Now my epiphany! On the way back home, my two cohorts in crime decided to rob a drunk man. A woman called the police. We walked. I had to go back to Hayti, to the safety of Clem’s house. As I walked down a path between some houses on South Roxboro Street, the cold words of a Durham police officer stopped me in my tracks: “Get your black a . . . on the ground ni . . . r, or we blow you away. I was armed. I had two pistols. But when I felt myself easing closer and closer to the ground, I said to myself: “I wish I had never gone and grabbed one of these hot s. . . Besides, if I was as bad as I claimed to be, I would pull my two pistols and go down in a blaze of glory.” What an epiphany!
At the police station, I explained as sincerely as possible that this was not my fault. I had met these two guys that I happened to know and they had asked me to help them carry some things. I had no idea, according to what I told the police, that the stuff was stolen. No, I had nothing to do with trying to rob the old man. In fact, I tried to talk them out of it. Then I realized I had made a mistake and tried to walk home.
You see, I know Nicholson lied about regretting or regretting killing Douglas. I know he lied about not being part of a gang anymore. You see, here is what was not revealed in his confession or in his stoic demeanor in court: 1) the renunciation of his criminal mindset, lifestyle and cohorts, 2) an acceptance of total responsibility for his current circumstances, 3) a recognition that if he ever expects to become a contributing member of society, he must change his thinking and his behavior.
So-called repentance is simply not enough! A young man is dead! A mother remains sad! We are all cheated out of what contributions Douglas could have made to his times. As God said to Cain, the first murderer, “A whole bloodline of unborn children cries out for justice.”
Here’s the really bad news! Nicholson’s trick worked! He was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison. Imagine that! An 18-year-old young man was brutally murdered, and his convicted killer will be 29 years old when released from prison in November 2017. All we can do now is hope that one day Nicholson will realize that even at 12 spend years in prison, he got an even better end of this sorry deal than Douglas did.
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