When most people talk about the "perfect crime," they're referring to one where the perpetrator gets away with it. I'd contend there's another definition. What about when you commit a crime against a criminal and get caught, but you walk away with a sense that you did the "right thing"? Confused? Take the case of Christopher Kubiak, a man who just saw his sentence reduced in the killing of a child molester.
Kubiak will spend the next 12 years of his life in prison. But there's that part of me that can't help wondering if his punishment was worth it. Florida prosecutors certainly seem to think so.
Kubiak could have received life in prison for killing his friend Joseph Brignoli, 33, on Super Bowl Sunday in 2011, but instead prosecutors took into account the testimony of a 13-year-old boy who says Brignoli had been sexually abusing him for quite some time, even videotaping the encounters (cops later said they found thousands of images and videos of child porn in the dead man's apartment).
There's also this scary fact: Brignoli -- who was the child's karate instructor -- showed up at the apartment complex where the boy's own father lived earlier in the day on Super Bowl Sunday. He shot off several rounds, apparently as a threat to the child's dad. One stray bullet even killed an innocent bystander. This sounds like one seriously bad dude.
No wonder later that night, back at Brignoli's townhouse, the boy found Brignoli's gun, picked it up, and debated killing his molester. He was afraid for his life! Fortunately, the child couldn't carry through. So Kubiak, who was also hanging out with his pal Brignoli and the child that night, did it for him. Prosecutors say he did it to protect the child.
Was he wrong? Absolutely. Ours is society that depends on people following the law. We have a justice system for a reason.
And yet, I can't help thinking about that kid. How scared must he have been? Here he was being sexual abused by his karate instructor, the type of person he should have been able to trust. And that man had a gun, which he had used that day, right near the boy's home.
If Kubiak had gone to the police, Brignoli might have been hauled off to jail, but that wouldn't make the fear go away for this kid. He could have gotten out on bail. Or he could have been sentenced, and the child would have to wonder what would happen when he finished his term in prison. We've all heard child molesters have one of the highest rates of recidivism among criminals. Even years later, the kid could have been at risk.
And what about a trial? Making that kid recount the horrid details of his abuse would be like making him relive them. Our justice gets so many things right, but the torture that victims endure at the hands of defense attorneys is one of its imperfections.
When a child is being hurt, we tend to do things we wouldn't do otherwise. I can't support killing a man, but I think I understand why Christopher Kubiak has impressed prosecutors enough to give him a break on his sentence.
Do you think prosecutors should show leniency when a child's life is being protected?
Image via Elvert Barnes/Flickr