When I first read the headline that a Colorado woman had beaten a man to death after her 4-year-old daughter said he abused her, I probably shared the same thoughts as many other moms: Good for her. I would do exactly the same thing. And she doesn't deserve to spend a single second in jail for defending her helpless loved one.
But as details emerge about this case, in which 30-year-old Forsythia Owen confessed to fatally beating Denzie Rainey with a baseball ball, I'm wondering if we would be jumping the gun to prosecute this man before he had the chance to defend himself. And, if it turns out he did abuse her little girl, whether Owen's impulsive actions cost her the true justice she and her daughter deserve.
So here's what happened: After Owen's daughter told her that 42-year-old Rainey had sexually molested her -- the details of what she said was done to her aren't clear -- Owen grabbed a baseball bat and went to find Rainey, who had been living in an alleyway nearby because he and his wife were going through hard times. Rainey had children of his own and reportedly chose to be homeless while dealing with his drinking problems. At one point, he even posted on his Facebook page that he was going to take pills and drink until he didn't wake up. So the only thing we can assume is that things weren't stable for this man and he didn't have the clearest of minds.
For all their problems, Rainey's wife swears he would never abuse a child and that he didn't deserve what came next: Owen beat the man so badly he suffered a cracked skull, broken ribs, and damaged organs. She then actually phoned Rainey's wife to tell her that her husband was in the hospital and, just hours later, admitted to police what she had done.
So here's what we're left with: A man who may or may not have sexually molested a little girl, but who will never have to stand trial and defend himself, a wife who lost her husband and children who lost their dad and have to hear all over the place that he may have been a really horrible man, and a little girl whose mom is facing first-degree murder charges. As a side note (and though it's unlikely it would apply here), capital punishment is legal in Colorado.
This is a horrible tragedy that has affected the lives of many. I understand this mom's emotional reaction to hearing her daughter reveal she was molested. It takes everything in my power not to shout, "Who cares about first-degree murder charges -- he got what he deserved!" But now instead of putting Rainey in front of a jury and giving him and his family the justice they deserve, a family is suffering and a 4-year-old will lose precious time with her mom as she battles her case in court.
How do you feel about what Owen allegedly did?
Image via Dan4th/Flickr