Monday, April 4, 2011

Less Than Just

I have been blessed with the amount of people Just GQ reaches, so I have decided to use this stage as a means to vent about something that has been bothering me. Some of the earlier Just GQ readers may recall about seven months ago in mid-September, one of my teammates and best friends, Daniel Covington, was murdered, by former Louisville baseball player, Isaiah Howes.

This case presented an interesting dynamic, from a legal standpoint, because of the Castle Doctrine, a portion of Kentucky law stating that if someone enters another person’s car and/or house, the inhabitant of the car/house has the right to utilize deadly force to remove the intruder. On the surface, it seems simple enough, however, what made this case intriguing from a social standpoint lied in the extenuating circumstances.

Covington, a recent college graduate, had attended a popular nightspot in Louisville when Howes and his brother, the accomplice in the incident, began antagonizing him with racial slurs. Covington entered his car, leaving the club and attempting to avoid the altercation, prior to stopping as he approached a stop light. It was at that time when Howes and his brother pulled up alongside Covington’s car with their windows rolled down and gun loaded, continuing the racially motivated insults until they provoked Covington enough to get him out of his car. He, then, walked to the passenger side of Howes’ car and began fighting with his antagonists, and after a brief scuffle, Howes, who claimed he felt unsafe in a 2 on 1 fist fight, yet failed to simply drive away or push Covington out of the car, fired the deadly shot and fled the scene of the crime. David Pence, attorney of Covington’s mother, stated in news reports that according to witness accounts, Covington was “backing away and standing up” when Howes fired his gun, meaning the “threat” of the ONE in the 2 ON 1 fight had subsided when Howes felt it necessary to kill the person he and his brother had antagonized. Hmm…

To make things even more interesting, Howes has a laundry list of prior legal altercations including but not limited to, DUI and weapons charges, from which he experienced minor repercussions because his father, a high profile attorney, assists in coming to the legal rescue of his delinquent son. Additionally, Howes’ story of the tragic night’s events changed frequently as lies were told regarding racial slurs being yelled (instigating the altercation and provoking Covington), the gun being loaded prior to the second meeting at the stop light, and drugs/alcohol (found later during the inspection of the vehicle) being involved. People who know Howes, personally, describe him as a violent individual, which is supported by his past.

On this past Friday, the judge granted Howes immunity from appearing before a grand jury and/or being prosecuted for the incident under the Castle Doctrine. This means that NO charges will be filed against Howes for his part in the racially motivated confrontation that left a young man with a bright future dead.

Now, I understand the law to an extent, but with the aforementioned extenuating circumstances involved in a case of this magnitude, I would expect the thought process to lead to further investigation, instead of “we should close the book on this case”. It is possible that such a law could have been, AND CLEARLY WAS manipulated in order to set this young man up to experience a premature death. To deprive the Covington family and friends of a sense of closure and peace is somewhat inhumane and shows a lack of justice within the justice system. Perhaps amendments will be made to this law going forward, but one thing is certain, in this case, the Kentucky justice system failed in providing just that, justice.

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