OP-ED by Michael M.
May 25, 2018
Let’s peruse a handful recent news articles, and let’s see if we can identify a common thread running through them…
Michael Thompson told his neighbor that he killed two homeless people because one of them was a sex offender, according to court documents. Prosecutors charged Thompson with two counts of murder in the Dec. 26, 2017 shooting deaths of Rhonda Ballow, 27, and Alfred Wilhelm, 53. Thompson allegedly told a neighbor that he killed the man because he was a sex offender and killed the woman because she refused to leave the scene. The Nevada sex offender registry shows that Alfred Wilhelm was convicted of first-degree rape in Hawaii in April 1984. Police said it appeared the shooter fired six to eight continuous shots while walking toward the pair.
Jorge Porto-Sierra, 50, confessed to Osceola County investigators that he attempted to kill multiple people on March 7 at a motel in Kissimmee, WESH reported. The man allegedly told police that he went to the Friendly Village Inn & Motel to “barbecue all the child molesters… and kill them.” The news station reported that two of the four victims were convicted sex offenders. Porto-Sierra made several threats, including, “I’m going to kill you, child molester,” before allegedly splashing gasoline on their motel room door. Witnesses said Porto-Sierra also hit a couple’s car and poured gasoline on it and broke a hotel window to pour gas inside the room.
Russell Speigle, 50, was arrested in Cottage Grove, a town outside Madison, WI. Mr. Speigle lives down the block from the torched home, a residence that was to house Harold Nyberg, 40, who was convicted in 1994 of sexually assaulting a child. The house was destroyed in the fire. Speigle claimed it was an attempt to keep the sex offender from moving into his neighborhood.
As we’ve reported elsewhere in RegistryReports.org, TX
In Anchorage, Alaska, 41-year old Jason Vukovich attacked three Registered Sex Offenders in June 2016, saying to one of the victims that he was an “avenging angel” for abused children. The court Prosecutor, Patrick McKay, argued in court that there was no excuse for Vukovich to target and attack the three strangers, beating one man so badly with a hammer that he fractured his skull and knocked him unconscious.
Superior Court Judge Erin Marston handed down his sentence to Vukovich: 25 years in prison, five years fewer than the maximum. He also sentenced Vukovich to five years’ probation. The men Vukovich singled out and attacked were complying with the law, Judge Marston said. They had gone through the court system, received their sentences and put their names on Alaska’s public sex offender registry, where Vukovich found their addresses. “It was not the purpose of the registry to allow people to do their own brand of justice,” Marston told Vukovich. “The purpose of the registry was to keep the community safe.”
The murder of 32-year old Roderick White may have been connected to comments found on his Facebook page alleging that he was a child molester, according to Kern County sheriff’s Detective Daniel Perez. In the years he’s worked in law enforcement, the detective wrote, he is aware that convicted or accused sex offenders are sometimes assaulted or killed because of their criminal history. Perez found a Facebook page that had pictures of White, and comments alleging that White was a child molester and listing possible addresses for him.”Social media platforms like Facebook have messaging applications which suspects will use to discuss, plan and execute crimes like assaults and murders,” Perez wrote. White had been stabbed more than 50 times on his face, chest and hands, among other areas. It’s unclear whether White was ever convicted of sex crimes. No one with his name and age turned up in a search of both state and national websites listing sex offenders, and he has no criminal cases listed against him in Kern County. Apparently, all it takes is the rumor that you’re on the sex offender registry to get you killed.
The Bottom Line
Just in case you haven’t figured out the common thread weaving its way through each of these stories, I’ll spell it out for you. SO Registrants in each of these instances have been shot, stabbed, electrocuted, set on fire, robbed, and beaten because they did the right thing and complied with the law requiring them to register and divulge what should have been privileged private information available to law enforcement only, rather than to vigilantes and murderers. Innocent bystanders suffered collateral damage as well, but let’s not use that euphemism. Non-registrants were often murdered for simply befriending an offender, or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or because of unsubstantiated rumors and social media postings.
Remember when the sex offender registry was supposed to make our communities safer? How much longer will this have to go on before something is done about it?