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Thursday, January 26, 2017

The "The End Of A Sad, Sad Story" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Little did I know when I designed the entire 2005 Manheim Township Middle School Yearbook to look as if it were a newspaper did I realize that one of the 8th graders in that class would make the newspaper in cities all over the nation in 2007 when, as a sophomore in high school, he brutally murdered his best friend and that boy's parents in their home because he wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone.  
The cover of the 2005 yearbook
I have written two stories since I began my blog in 2009 telling about the young man who turned his thoughts into reality that early May 12th morning and eventually told his father what he did about a month later.  His father turned his son into the police after a few soul-searching days and eventually the boy, Alec Kreider, was sentenced to 3 consecutive life sentences.  The murders happened less than a mile from my home in Manheim Township and for that following month the neighborhoods nearby all felt uneasy, wondering if it could happen again.  Then, a year or so ago, the federal government said that juveniles could not be sentenced to life for murders they did as a youth.  And, they made it so that those who had committed murders in the past so many years could seek a resentencing hearing.  Alec Kreider was one of 13 juvenile lifers from Lancaster County that was eligible for that hearing, but those hearings have been delayed as Lancaster County is waiting on an upcoming state Supreme Court decision before re-evaluating the life without parole sentences.  So Alec has been sitting in the prison at Camp Hill waiting.  His last hope being put on hold must have gotten to him and on January 20 he killed himself by hanging himself in his cell.  
Photo of Alec Kreider appears on the right hand page of
the yearbook.  He is on the far right, second row.
Click on photo to enlarge it.
He was 25 years old and had been at Camp Hill since March 25, 2015.  He was pronounced dead at 4:31 pm at nearby Holy Spirit Hospital.  It ended the sad, sad story of a very bright young man who happened to have very evil thoughts and couldn't stop himself from carrying them out.  Lancaster County District Attorney said there is some relief that the victim's family members, who believed the life sentence was final, will not have to endure additional legal proceedings and will no longer have the sickening feeling that he might have someday walked free.  I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this situation.  Was Alec too young to really know what he was doing, as is the case with many juveniles who commit crimes, or was he just evil?  And how and whom can decide that?  A judge?  What makes a judge capable of determining if a prisoner who commits a murder, as a juvenile, can be released once again into society as an adult?  Should that judge be held liable if that prisoner is released and kills once again?  And, what was on the mind of Alec when he decided to take his life?  The families of the three who were murdered as well as the family of Alec will never get to know if he might have been released and perhaps lived a normal life.  Such a sad ending to a sad story.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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