Too often, perpetrators of crimes walk free for various reasons. Lack of evidence, too many questions during trial, and other factors come into play, and the victims of those crimes don’t get the justice or closure they deserve. Thankfully, the criminal justice system has put away plenty of criminals, too, offering their victims a little bit of peace.
Child Predator Gets 1,503 Years in Jail
Fresno, California, man Rene Lopez went to trial for raping a minor repeatedly over a four-year period. The jury ended up convicting him of 186 felony counts, and the judge sentenced him to 1,503 years in jail for his crimes. During the trial, Lopez did not show remorse for his actions, and went so far as to blame his victim and accuse her of lying during her testimony. Ironically, Lopez rejected two plea bargains, which would have had him out of prison in 13 or 22 years.
Green River Killer Caught Decades Later
Image via Flickr by toubab
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, between 48 and 90 murders happened in Washington near its Green River. The police suspected Gary Ridgeway in the early ’80s, but at the time didn’t have the DNA technology to connect evidence to Ridgeway. In 2001, new technology allowed police to identify Ridgeway as the killer. They arrested him, and he confessed to the murders. He pleaded guilty to escape the death penalty. He’s currently serving 48 life sentences.
Four Chicago Residents Charged with Hate Crime
In Chicago in early 2017, four people from Chicago (ages 18 to 24) beat up a fifth Chicago teen, who had special needs, and posted it live on social media. This hate crime was particularly difficult to report on because the assailants were black and the victim was white, making news sources wonder if the words “hate crime” were applicable.
Because of the attack’s nature, Chicago officials termed the attack a “hate crime.” The four perpetrators were charged with a hate crime, along with felony aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and aggravated unlawful restraint.
110-Year Sentence for Man Behind Ponzi Scheme
Bernie Madoff might be one of the most famous financial criminals of the era, but he’s not serving the longest sentence for his crime. Robert Allen Stanford of Stanford Investment Bank is serving 110 years in a high-security Florida prison for creating an elaborate Ponzi scheme out of the Stanford Investment Bank.
The charges against him piled up, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The ongoing fraud skyrocketed to $7 billion in total before he got caught.
Finding out that criminals have harmed or killed people is devastating, but knowing that they are paying for their crimes helps satisfy some of the strife. The criminal justice system doesn’t always work the way we think it should, and the news headlines are disappointing when they highlight criminals walking free. Sometimes, though, as these sentences have shown, criminals do pay for their crimes.