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Author: Subject: Fatal prank at Bradley University
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[*] Post 317846 posted on 24-1-2008 at 17:16 Reply With Quote
Fatal prank at Bradley University

Four young men, as a prank, directed a Roman candle to shoot under the door of a friend's room. (They had seen it on Youtube, I'm told.) Articles in the room caught fire, setting fire to the room and the building, and the friend perished.

Although it was intended as a prank (they thought it would be funny for their friend to be surprised by indoor fireworks and run out in his underwear), it legally qualified as arson, and a death resulting from an intentional felony qualifies as murder.

There was an outpouring of sympathy for the young men. It was a stupid stunt gone wrong, but there was no malice involved. Would the young men go to prison for twenty or more years for one horrible mistake? They already were carrying the guilt of having killed their friend in a painful death.

It came out yesterday that a plea deal has been reached. Each of the young men is pleading guilty, so there will not be any trial. Their sentence is for each of them to serve 6 months in county jail, followed by probation, and each will have a permanent felony on their record. They also had to pay some money, including paying for the funeral of their dead friend.

Discussion on the radio has been that the sentences are too light. County jail is not prison, it is the easier-going local lock-up where people commonly go for drunk driving, minor drug offenses, etc. (not violent career criminals). Bradley is a fairly expensive private university, and some people are likely to think the young people got a lighter punishment partly because they had expensive lawyers.

What do you think?
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[*] Post 317847 posted on 24-1-2008 at 17:20 Reply With Quote

I think it's horrific that three young lives have been blighted, one fatally.

Other than that, none of us has all the details and can't make much more of it than what is in the press.
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[*] Post 317862 posted on 24-1-2008 at 18:38 Reply With Quote

I think they should at least spend some time in a real prison, if only to ram home the stupidity of such a prank to anyone else who didn't listen to the warnings "Don't play with fire"

I speak from personal experience of finding charred paper behind my door in Halls when I let myself in from a night away. The culprits had shoved it burning under my door, calling me to "come out and show yourself", not beliving my neighbours who said I was out.
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