Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Shorter sentence for Mia Zapata's murderer?
When local Gits singer Mia Zapata was found raped and murdered it devastated the local music community in Seattle. She touched so many of our hearts. Even if you didn't know her personally, just listening to her songs or seeing her perform live made you feel like you knew her. Mia had a way of laying her emotions out there in front of everyone with her songwriting and delivery. There was a rawness and soul to her songs, something you can still hear listening to The Gits a good 15 years later.
When she died it was so tragic, and the pain and hole in the music community went on for so long because the police were unable to solve her murder. Benefits were held, funds were raised, and her friends ended up hiring a private investigator to try to solve what the police could not... but still, the murder went unsolved. It wasn't until ten years later with DNA testing that a fisherman in Florida named Jesus Mesquia was caught and matched to the scene. Mia finally got her trial and Mesquia was convicted of the horrendous crime. Because of the circumstances surrounding the murder, the judge was extra tough in sentencing and gave Mesquia 36 years. 36 years seems way too short a time for taking Mia's life, the bastard should have got a life sentence, but the judge actually gave ten years more than the usual sentence because of the heinous nature of the murder.
A recent US Supreme Court ruling has overturned the sentence however. The court ruled that only juries, not judges, can hand out exceptional sentences. For Mesquia, that means he will have a new trial for sentencing and will probably get shortened jail time. This totally blows, especially since in an odd twist, Mesquia himself has said he thinks he deserves the longer sentence and shouldn't be let out any earlier. The trial date hasn't been set yet for the new sentencing, but I'll update you all when I hear more about this. It's another sad day in a really sad story.