Imagine knowing the names of the men who killed your son and not being able to do anything about it. This is life for the parents of Jacob Kudla, a teenager shot to death in Detroit, Michigan, last year. The Kudlas say they know who killed their son and his friend. They know who beat him up, put him in the trunk of a car, took him out to a field, and shot their child. But there's nothing they can do about it.
Because Detroit police and prosecutors have told them they won't be prosecuting! Apparently Bernie and Vergie Kudla are supposed to be happy that the men who killed their son are behind bars, awaiting trial on other crimes.
But is that really enough?
The cops and prosecutors say it comes down to not enough evidence to build a good case.
The Kudlas claim this comes down to money -- it's known across the country that Detroit is broke, and these parents think their son's case is getting the shaft because it would cost money to bring the criminals to justice. They say there is plenty of evidence.
It's a whole lot of he said-she said at the moment.
But the question of whether it's enough to catch a criminal on another case remains.
Sure, it's comforting to know killers are behind bars, so they can't kill again.
But Jacob Kudla is still dead, as is his 17-year-old friend Jourdan Bobbish, who was also murdered that night. Parents lost sons. Parents want the people who made their worst nightmares come true to pay for that, not for other crimes, but specifically for that.
They want justice for THEIR loved ones.
Is that really too much to ask?
Is it really wrong that they're pushing these police and prosecutors on this?
This isn't to say that there is any malfeasance in the Detroit legal system. I'm well aware that it is often up to prosecutors to do the best they can to get criminals behind bars, and because they're bound by the law on how to procure evidence, that sometimes means indicting on counts other than what they'd really like to, at least in their hearts.
But where the cops and DAs have hundreds of cases that they need to focus on, parents like Bernie and Vergia Kudla have just one. They can ... and should ... keep on fighting. Because who else will?
Do you think it's fair to make these parents accept that their sons' killers are behind bars on other charges? What would you do in their shoes?
Image via Patricia Drury/Flickr