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Pedophilia vs. Murder – which is worse?

From this story in The Detroit News:

A 15-year-old who knelt before his father and tearfully apologized for inappropriate contact he admitted having with a 3-year-old relative was minutes later marched naked from the house by the father and executed with a bullet to the head, witnesses said in court today.

At first glance, I’m almost ready to award Jamar Pinkney, Sr., the father, a medal and give him a parade. Recidivism among that type of sexual assault is extremely high. And until chemical castration or a life sentence becomes mandatory for child rapists, there is a very high risk of that person assaulting again once he is out of prison.

From what I’ve seen and heard, most people, when they hear about a case of molestation on the news, say “that person should be executed” or “if that was my child I’d hunt that bastard down and kill him.” This man listened to his own son tell him that he vaginally raped a three-year old girl, and he killed him. He eliminated the courts, the chance of it happening again, and his own son’s abuse and torment in prison and just like George and Lenny, he took his son out in a field and showed him where the bunnies were.

As I thought about it more, though, I have to wonder. What was this man hiding? The story explains that his son was terrified of telling his father. It is probably reasonable to assume that he didn’t expect to be shot in the head, so that makes you wonder. Was the father an abuser? Most sexual abusers are abused themselves. And if his son was so terrified of him, it could have been the prior beatings may have given him forewarning of the absolute ass kicking that was about to happen. Or maybe Pinkney Senior sexually abused his son and he knew that if his son was arrested, this would come out.

No matter how you look at it, a 15-year old boy knows enough not to do what he did. Jamar Pinkney, Jr., was scum and deserved to die for raping a child. But I wonder about his father and think that the family environment must have contributed in some way. And his father’s immediate reaction of shooting his own son in the head leads me to think he has, at the very least, highly sociopathic tendencies.

In the end, one man is dead and another will surely be spending time in prison for his crime. And neither of them deserve our sympathy.

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77 Replies to “Pedophilia vs. Murder – which is worse?”

  1. Poppy

    I thought you had a radio show for these topics.

    I don’t even know what to say to this. I don’t believe in murder, I don’t believe in rape/molestation, and comparing the two as one being somehow worse or better is out of my ability.

  2. Dave2

    I wouldn’t presume to speculate because I don’t even want to go to a place where I try to understand these people. There are infinite possibilities as to why the father did what he did, and we may never know the truth. Your end statement pretty much wraps up my own feelings on the matter, as I am equally horrified by both crimes.

  3. Trish

    I have no answers, only more questions (I’m a social worker, so what do you expect? :))

    I know that most people would say they don’t want to think about these kinds of questions; they don’t want to try to understand people who do these kinds of things. And yet…

    And yet, we as a society must deal with these questions. What _do_ we do when things like this happen? I know what the judicial response is; I know what our courts and laws do with people like this. But the thing I wonder is, are we really even able to help people like this (and I mean both the father and son)? Is our response sufficient, by any stretch of the imagination? Like I said – I don’t have the answers. I do know, though, that as a human being, I can’t help but feel pity for both these men – both the one who was executed, and his executioner. Neither life is a road I would ever want to have to go down. Ever.

      • Trish

        @Avitable, I understand what you’re saying. First, I support the death penalty *for certain crimes*, because as you mention, certain crimes have an exceedingly low rate of rehabilitation and, quite honestly, I don’t want such people around in society, victimizing more innocents. Do I believe our justice system is fair and just in how it determines who gets the death penalty? Well, we could spend all day talking about THAT issue.

        Second, was what the father did justifiable? If the son had been allowed the opportunity to a fair trial (which is a right every citizen in this country has), and the verdict returned had been to put him to death, I think we probably wouldn’t even be talking about it, except maybe in passing. Certainly, it wouldn’t have engendered this level of debate on your blog, Av.

        The real issue (and I think you got to this point well) is that the father acted as judge, jury, and executioner for his son – denying us the opportunity to determine exactly what happened and whether the son was deserving of the death penalty. He took that decision out of our (society’s) hands, where it rightly belonged. I think most of us (though evidently not all) are a little more than slightly uncomfortable with that fact. And the father will pay for his crime, whether that means a life in prison or more (I haven’t Googled to see what state this happened in, so I don’t know if the death penalty is an option).

        As for the rest of the debate – did the father kill the son to hide his own crimes of abuse – it’s really a moot point for everyone except the courts (I imagine such information, if it were true, would be an aggravating factor against the father and result in a harsher sentence than if he were simply acting out of a sense of moral outrage).

        In my mind, it simply comes down to this: A child (because yes, 15 is still a child) committed a heinous act against another child. A grown man took the situation into his own hands and committed another heinous act. I think both crimes were horrific and should never have been committed; the difference being that the son was denied the fair trial that his father will have. Ultimately, I think that the family of that man and boy will pay for both of those crimes for the rest of their lives.

  4. Dan

    I don’t actually think peadophiles should be killed. I think they should spend their entire lives in miserable conditions in prisons. But then again I think that for murders too. I’m not a big fan of the death penalty.

    As for the father and son thing – yes. Very suspicious.

  5. B.E. Earl

    Any speculation into the father’s motives are purely that. Speculation.

    Bottom line…a vile fucker who deserved to die is dead. I just wish his father gave the option of doling out the death sentence to the little girl’s mother or father.

    • Avitable

      @B.E. Earl, apparently he was the little girl’s father, too, according to another commenter. And yes it’s speculation, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea to speculate on what could cause someone to do that to their own son.

  6. SingleParentDad

    That is some fucked up shit.

    Ruining how many lives, for what? There are no answers, as for the vast majority – hopefully – it is absolutely beyond comprehension.

    I agree with the rotting in jail sentiment, and I also think we should be doing more scientific study with them, chopping them up to see if ‘they’ are made differently.

  7. Scout's Honor

    Wow! Just wow! Don’t know what to think. I’d kill if anyone touched my kid, but if it were my own kid? That takes a new breed of parent that I hope I never have the acquaintance to meet. Would I want my child locked up so he could do no more harm? Definitely, but would I execute him? It just goes against nature and makes me see all sorts of flags. Yes, I think there is something to your theory, my friend.

  8. Jennifer

    WOW. Just wow.

    You can’t really say what the fathers motivation was, be it covering up a crime he committed, reacting to abuse he suffered, trying to overcome the shame of what his son did. Who knows. When you have kids, you often see your kids as an extension of yourself – their success becomes your success, hence their failure and shame, also yours.

    As a mother of a three year old girl, I’m glad the little shit is dead because he won’t grow up to be a ted bundy or whatever, but at the same time…

  9. Chelsie

    Just to add a little bit more to this story, the three year old girl was the mans daughter also. So his son did this to his daughter (the boys half sister) I can only imagine that as a parent of both the victim and the abuser he had to go through quite a bit mentally to take him to a place where he could shoot his son. As to why the boy was terrified to tell his father…um hello! He was 15, a sophmore in high school, he had to know exactly what telling his dad would mean…jail time. The only reason he told the father is because the mother of the girl already knew, and made him tell. I can only imagine that at 15 he knew what he was doing was completely wrong and didn’t want to tell anyone, much less his dad/the dad of the girl he did this to.

    • Avitable

      @Chelsie, the article also said that the son wasn’t just scared, he was absolutely petrified. If his dad wasn’t a physical abuser, but someone who talked to his kids and showed unconditional love, do you think he’d be quite as terrified? I don’t know.

  10. Andria

    I guess I think at that age, to be that fucked up, that there isn’t a chance of reform. Maybe the dad saw that. But, I’m a glass half-empty kind of person. You made some points I hadn’t considered– I wonder what was going on behind those closed doors of the Pinkney household.

  11. Kellee

    I am so appalled by the entire thing, I quite honestly can’t form a coherent opinion no the matter.

    It is probably naive on my part, but I want to give a kid – and as a 15 year old is still a kid – the “benefit of the doubt” for lack of better phrasing at this moment. I mean at 15, you’ve barely (if it all) started to develope the ability to truly interpret facial expressions. (Seriously!) And we want to hold someone with a still underdeveloped brain responsible for something like that? To the point of death? But I am still so repulsed by what he has done.

    Continuing with your opinions, though: if that 3 year old grows into a teen and does something disgusting, because she was damaged by someone else as a child, does she deserve to be immediately shot in the head? Is she not still a victim? Can we know that he was not?

    I find that my gut reaction is to destroy all pedophiles, but I hesitate when they themselves are children.

    I believe something needs to be done. I believe that we need an improvement in the court/justice system – I don’t find that vigilante justice always handles things appropriately.

    • Avitable

      @Kellee, a 15-year old still knows not to vaginally rape a 3-year old girl. I can’t feel any sympathy for him, regardless of his background. In the end, it’s still free will. It’s still his choice to do that.

  12. Nat

    Wow, that is fucked up. Just all around.

    I don’t even know where to begin. it’s a dark place to have to go but like Dan, I don’t believe pedophiles should die. It seems to tidy almost. I’d like to see them go to jail with the others… what we need are longer penalties.

    In this case, it sounds like the father has some issues. As a parent, (and I can’t speak for any one else) where do you have to be in your mind to be able to execute your child like that…

  13. Clown

    I think it’s shitty to speculate on reasons the father had. Very Nancy Grace of you. His son molested a little girl. Worse yet in his eyes… A relative. Think of all the ripples that would have throughout their family. It’s safe to say he was disgusted and outraged. I’m honestly happy he did not just stick by his son and make excuses or falsify info like some parents do after heinous acts perpetrated by their kids.

    Should the father have taken the law into his own hands? Absolutely not, and he’ll pay for his crime. If something comes out later, he’ll be judged for those crimes as well. Until there’s any kind of evidence to the contrary though, his reasons should not be read into, comparing one monster to another.

    • Faiqa

      @Clown, This was an incredibly thoughtful and on point comment — I agree completely and could not have said it better. Um. Who are you and what have you done with the guy that usually posts under this name? 😉

    • Avitable

      @Clown, I wouldn’t expect him to make excuses either. Still, he not only murdered his son, he did it in cold blood, by coldly making him strip naked, walk out into the middle of a field and executing him. Regardless of the speculation of why he would do that, he’s still almost as much a piece of shit as his son.

      • Clown

        @Avitable, Something else that really annoyed me from the article was how the boy spoke up “I need counseling”. It’s pretty common for criminals to claim they want counseling or “help”, but that’s because it’s easier than what they expect the punishment to be. While I think counseling and therapy can be extremely helpful in many situations, my personal view is that somebody that would commit a crime like this is already rotted to the core. When it comes to such horrible things as rape and murder, you ask for help or counseling when you have the thoughts, not after you’ve committed act and want forgiveness.

        At 15 he obviously knew the difference between right and wrong, especially if he brought up counseling himself. The real shame is that neither him nor his idiot father decided to follow through with that thought before doing what they did.

        Had either of them sought help before acting on their impulses nobody would be dead.

  14. Sybil Law

    I think you know how I feel about this stuff. I am not sad a pedophile is dead. I think they should be killed, since there’s almost no chance of rehabilitating them. But there’s no evidence to me, in this story, that the dad did anything to the kid (I mean, other than the murder). Sounds like the dad was certainly a looming, authoritative figure, for sure. But the kid could’ve been molested by absolutely anyone – family or not – in his life. The conversation went on for a while and the guy went there with the intent to kill his son – and honestly, I am not sure, if I were given the same option (to meet my kids’ molester – and if I had a gun), I wouldn’t have done the same thing. The icky squicky part is, it was his own son he was killing! GAH.
    I don’t know. The whole situation makes me sad.

    • Avitable

      @Sybil Law, I don’t think anyone would question the motivation of a man killing someone who sexually abused his child. It’s when he killed his own child you just have to wonder how fucked up he is as well.

  15. Faiqa

    I don’t support people taking the law into their own hands… under any circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, I understand where the father was coming from, but, no, very wrong. Our cohesiveness as a society is threatened by people taking the law into their own hands.

  16. Grant

    The story said the teen admitted to having a problem and wanted counseling, so he definitely understood that it was wrong, but I wonder what kind of childhood he had (quick answer – the type that leads you to become a pedophile). It also said the father was calm at first, but then erupted and began “kicking, punching and pistol whipping the teen before stripping him and taking him at gunpoint to a field near the house.” Gee, I wonder from where the 15yo could have gotten his impulse control issues? In this specific case I can empathize with the teen more than the father, although the real victim was the little girl.

    The report didn’t say how hot the 3yo girl was, though, which is sloppy journalism and I don’t think we should judge until we know all the facts.

  17. Lisa

    I honestly don’t know how I feel about this, and I agree that speculation is somewhat useless and voyeuristic. When I first read about how the father marched the son out into the field and the son begged for his life, I was horrified. But I have no idea how I would react in that situation, especially given that we don’t know the family history. I believe fully in the death penalty, and at times support the idea of taking care of your own business because I have no illusions about justice always being served by the courts, but in this case there is just no way to know.

  18. Jen

    I think the fact that this man could strip his son naked and then shoot him in the head says a lot about what kind of a person/parent he was. As in, not so good. I can’t pretend to know how I would react if one of my children admitted something like this to me but I do know that there’s nothing they could ever do to make me react the way this man did. Am I sad a pedophile is dead? No, not at all. I am sad though for whatever happened to this 15 year old that warped him so badly that he could commit an act like that. By extension I wonder if I should be sad for whatever happened to the father that made him warped enough to think it’s ok to shoot his son in the head? Nah, my compassion bone is only so long.

  19. Special K

    I too am in the camp of the father is hiding something. I thought of it immediately, it would come out what he was doing to his son when this was all investigated as to what the son did. That act was definitely not a normal reaction, I would dare say that I could see a parent protecting and hiding a confession like that for their child easier than what he did.
    Both acts are equally horrifying but I would have to know more about why the kid did what he did.

  20. thepsychobabble

    It’s my understanding (and I’m not a professional, just way too interested in the macabre)that usually it’s found that the older child (and 15 is still in that grey area of childhood…really depends on the maturity of the kid, imho) has some sort of molestation or sexual abuse that happened to him. Not that it makes it okay. What the son did was absolutely 100% wrong and disgusting. And he should have been punished. Severely.

    The father, on the other hand, was the ADULT in this situation. And while I get that urge for revenge against the person who had deeply hurt his little girl, he shot a child. He beat, stripped and shot HIS OWN child. I couldn’t do that. To me, it’s just not fathomable.

    Both acts were horrible, both were wrong, both deserve(d) punishment. But if it had been my choice, I’d have rather seen the young teen locked away, and receiving help, then dead in a field by his father’s hand.

  21. kapgar

    There are definitely some fucked up family dynamics in there. And, honestly, I think the kid got off too easy. Being shot in the head? Too quick. Take him to a supermax prison and let the inmates have their way with him… then shoot him.

  22. Elisa

    This is wrong and disturbing in so many ways. But I have to say, as hard as that may sound, I am glad the world is free of one more child molester. As much as I abhor weapon use and murder and violence, as the mother of a 3-year old myself, I appreciate the father doing what I woulnd’t have had the courage of doing myself but believe was deserved. I am almost ashamed to say this because I don’t even support the death penalty, but child molesters are absolute scum and I am enraged on behalf of the parents of that poor little girl.

  23. Keith Wilcox

    You got that right. Neither one of them deserves sympathy for their crimes. However, since you mentioned it, I too wonder about his upbringing. Perhaps he deserves some sympathy for that depending on what the actual circumstances are.

  24. Hockeyman

    Wow, that is a tough one. Abuse is a circle. I learned that in high school. Not 100% of course, but I bet it’s over 90. I think you’re on to something in thinking there was more to the story regarding history. That was a pretty harsh first choice of reaction. The sad part is it will all still come out in his own trial and sentencing. There is now a mother and spouse that must live with the reality of what transpired. A child was murdered and did not get the chance of rehabilitation where it would be possible to fix. Having my own 3 year old, I am grossed out by the crime committed by the teenager, although I don’t think I would wish for death on the perpetrator. At first I might, but rational thinking would ultimately prevail. I have only sadness for the family surrounding these 2 people.

  25. cat

    Shocking and disgusting story. This line stood out to me and seemed to vaguely support your theory:

    “He said, ‘You want to see some counseling?’ And he started to pull Jamar’s pants off. Jamar Jr. is saying, ‘No Daddy, no,’ ” Yolanda Cherry said.

    Also, I found it odd that after seeing her nephew being pistol-whipped, the aunt and the other relatives left the boy alone. She cried on the stand, but c’mon… what did they think would happen in that situation? Perhaps what everyone in their family secretly wished would happen…?

  26. JD at I Do Things

    “And neither of them deserve our sympathy.”

    That’s probably the only thing everyone will agree on.

    I think pedophila is murder, so to me, there’s no difference.

    But, as much as we’d like to, we can’t take the law into our own hands. Did that 15-year-old get what he deserved? Maybe, but it’s not up to me or you or his dad to decide that.

    Sad, sad, sad.

  27. Candace

    This entire story is just so disgusting from start to finish that it is almost impossible for me to wrap my mind around it but here goes.

    To be able to destroy your own child, no matter how disgusting of an act your child committed, is a mark of a disturbed mind, at least. The fact that a heinous act was allegedly committed against another of your children makes violence against that first, older child, more comprehensible but still very, very horrific.

    What puzzles me is that there is no physical evidence of this heinous act of rape (stated in the article). Given the age of the victim, I find that surprising. I also find it surprising that the father was so quick to believe his son’s horrible act. And I also am sickened by the ritualistic way the father stripped and beat the son before executing him.

    I think you are right–something seems even more twisted than this almost unbelievably twisted account already appears to be.

    A word on recidivism. I hate to say this because I don’t have time to do the research right now but I wonder what the statistics are when this sort of violent, sociopathic behavior is caught in the early teens. Yes, I agree with you 100% that 15 is old enough to know that this is a very, very wrong thing to do (assuming it actually happened)…but is it young enough to change–and does it matter (medically speaking, not legally or morally) whether the act was done out of a morally repulsive sexual desire (pedophilia) or an act of violence done out of another type of derangement?

    As to which is worse–I think that being raped is worse as far as suffering for the victim and perhaps represents an even sicker psyche in the perpetrator…but when it comes down to it, a person who has been raped still has a chance to rebuild a life, to be a survivor, where as the victim of a murder does not. Would a parent rather have the opportunity to help a child rebuild his or her life or have that child dead?

    Would I kill someone who raped my daughter? Yes. Would I be able to do it if it were my own son? I don’t know. Good Lord, I don’t want to know.

  28. Princess of the Universe

    According to the article he didn’t rape the girl – and he asked for help. Why did he ask for help?
    Now in my mind, anyone who touches a child inappropriately should be given the death sentence – I am in no way trying to justify what he did.
    But I find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that a father murdered his own child. Because really, 15 – while old enough to know better than to touch a 3 year-old, is still a child.
    I think both acts were despicable – but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the boy suffered some kind of trauma or abuse in his life to result in such behaviour.

  29. Loukia

    That is just a horrific, tragic story all around. I think if the 15 year old was alive today, I would indeed want him jailed for a very long time/life. At the same time… as a parent myself, no matter what my children do in their life, I, personally, could never lift a finger to them, no matter what.

  30. Mik

    Both crimes are equally horrific, upon reading the post my first thought was if the father was hiding something. No matter the crime I would think it should be hard for a father to kill his own son.

  31. Marko

    What kind of pussy posting is this one? I was expecting something irreverent, not a CSI investigation or a discussion of a moral dilema. Who wrote this? Ann Coulter? Montel Williams?
    Please, go back to the tactless subjects.

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