Here's the story. On November 6, 1980, three men were caught in the act of stealing a Mustang and two of them, David Knick and Robert Strong, shot the law enforcement officer, Deputy Ira Essoe, who was being a good and brave officer trying to stop the robbery. Unfortunately, the officer was paralyzed. It was a heinous and terrible act, and Knick and Strong deserved their punishment. On February 4, 2010, Deputy Essoe died.
Here are the details that I think are important from the story.
David Knick was twenty four years old at the time. He then served nine years for one felony count each of attempted murder, unlawful taking of a vehicle, possession of a firearm by a felon, and two felony counts each of assault with a deadly weapon and auto burglary. It is not his fault that he did not serve enough time; he was given that time by the judge. According to his daughter, he is now a pastor, wrote an apology to Deputy Essoe in the 80s, and has never claimed that he did not deserve the punishment he received.
Deputy Ira Essoe died at the age of 69, twenty-nine and a half years after the incident. The medical examiner says that his death was from complications from the shooting thirty years ago. He died from sepsis of the blood, which the examiner claimed was caused by bed sores. Knick's daughter claims that the sores were caused by neglect from her caregivers and not by the shooting that happened nearly thirty years ago.
There are two issues at stake here. First, the two criminals who did their time for the original crime appear to be receiving a tougher dose of justice because the victim was a law enforcement officer. If this is a murder, then we need to be fair and routinely charge criminals with murder if the victim dies of complications from the incident thirty years later. It should not matter if the victim is a law enforcement officer or not. Second, we must ask ourselves how long after a shooting one should be charged with murder from complications from that shooting. What is a reasonable period of time? Thirty years does not seem reasonable. But there is a time period that would be reasonable. Not everyone dies immediately from a shooting.
It is sad that Deputy Essoe has died. Even though it was in February, my prayers do go out to the family. Sadly, the family can't deal with the death in peace because of the circus surrounding the crime that happened thirty years ago. But the answer is not putting two guys back into prison who have kept a clean record since being freed. Doing that won't help anyone - not the taxpayers, not the Essoe family, nor the criminals' families.
This is an inflammatory post that the daughter of David Knick replied to - JUSTICE FOR SERGEANT IRA ESSOE. TWO MEN CHARGED FOR SHOOTING OC SHERIFF'S DEPUTY BACK IN 1980. ARRESTED ARE DAVID MICHAEL KNICK, and ROBERT DUSTON STRONG
From the Associated Press - Murder charged after CA victim dies 30 years later
From the Orange County Register - Two men charged with murder in deputy's 1980 shooting
From the Orange County Sheriff's Department - Officer Down Memorial Page Honors Sergeant Ira Essoe
An online petition to the Orange County Prosecutor - Bring Justice for David