Readers are intensely interested in the tragic death of a store security officer at the Kmart in Waterford Township last week
, continuing the debate on stories about the couple who was arrested starting their journey through the courts
Many debate whether this couple — Samantha Lorraine Lomasney, 20, and James Dean Woodworth, 39 —should face first-degree murder charges.
Some people point out if the victim, Greg Wainio, 36, had not chased after them, there would have been no death. He grabbed onto their escaping vehicle and was injured when it struck objects in the parking lot, killing him.
Sorry, that logic (that they shouldn't face murder charges) doesn't work here.
This case is exactly why the felony murder statute exists.
Generally, first-degree murder requires an intent to kill, a plan or at least the intention to kill. Getting inside the mind of someone (perhaps who is in a rage) is a tricky thing for a jury. They can debate first-degree or second-degree murder and sometimes even look at manslaughter. The difference is huge for a defendant and for society. Is there a chance at release from prison?
But society does not want thieves who kill, even if they did not intend to kill. To eliminate those threats and also to discourage such behavior, many states like Michigan have implemented felony murder statutes.
For certain crimes, such as unarmed robbery, we do not need to know the intent when the homicide occurred.
And that is a good thing.
So first-degree felony murder is the charge the couple from Pontiac faces, and if convicted, they will receive the mandatory life-without-parole sentence. They will not get out of prison, even if their plan was only to steal some CDs and score some heroin, as police have said they indicated.
That's why you shouldn't commit felony crimes, because someone might get hurt.
And Wainio was a man who valued his job and had enough self-respect to try to do a good job. His duty was to protect the property of Kmart, and he was trying to do just that when he was killed.
Society should not tolerate a man like him being killed like this, and it looks like Oakland County will not tolerate it.