The trial of a black woman in Texas for the murder of a young white boy has attracted little media attention, and in view of some of the comments especially by the police, maybe it shouldn't.
In the US as in the UK, hysteria over racism has led to some extraordinary reporting and non-reporting. Here, there has long been a policy of not reporting the race of either white victims or non-white perpetrators. The recent horrific grooming cases have put a serious dent in that policy, but it continues in the United States. At present, a black woman named Mona Nelson is on trial for the murder of a young white boy; this is extremely unusual; women of all races commit far fewer murders than men, and women killers but rarely cross the racial line or kill for kicks. Myra Hindley and Rose West were examples of the latter, and as usual they did not hunt alone.
Mona Nelson is alleged to have acted alone; she is currently standing trial for the murder of 12 year old Jonathan Foster who disappeared at Christmas, 2010. The boy had been tortured to death and burned before his body was dumped in a ditch.
Some people have claimed this was a "hate crime" - as opposed to a love crime? This angle has been rejected by both the mainstream media and the authorities, but there is a more important issue here. According to the Daily Mail shortly after Nelson's arrest, Houston detective Mike Miller branded her a "cold, soulless murderer who showed an absolute lack of remorse in taking the life of Jonathan Foster".
Understandably, the police are looking at other, unsolved cases to see if there might be a connection, but was it necessary to as good as brand Nelson a serial killer in public?
In the UK, no police officer would ever have made such claims on the record, and if he had, no news media would have reported them. Anyone who doesn't understand why should read up on the case of Chris Jefferies. As Lord Hardwicke, Lord Chancellor of England said in 1742, this is "a case of prejudicing mankind against persons before their case is heard."
This is all the more serious in Nelson's case, because if convicted she could have faced the death penalty. This is not now an issue because like serial killer Terry Blair, Nelson has agreed to a trial by judge alone. All the same, should a legal pundit really have declared that the forensic evidence is "enough to convict" ?
Sadly, this sort of thing is par for the course both for the American media and far more shamefully by the police. Some may argue that if the evidence is so compelling, it doesn't matter. This misses the point, for it is precisely when the evidence is so compelling and the charges so grave that an accused needs the protection of the law. If and when he or in this case she is convicted, then and only then should it be open season for the media, the police, and anyone else.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com