Woman’s mur­der prompts ques­tions, raises con­cerns

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

Mur­der. The sheer men­tion of the word makes some peo­ple gasp. And well it should. In the Crim­i­nal Code of Canada there is no crime more se­ri­ous than mur­der, a fact re­flected in the range of sen­tences pro­posed by Par­lia­ment for those who are con­victed of com­mit­ting this most heinous of­fence.

Yet ev­ery year in this coun­try lit­er­ally hun­dreds of Cana­di­ans meet their death at the hands of another per­son.

And ev­ery year fam­i­lies, friends and co-work­ers find them­selves griev­ing the loss of some­one close to them, while at the same time try­ing to make sense of a tragedy for which no ac­cept­able ex­pla­na­tion can ever be found.

There was a time in Prince Ed­ward Is­land, and not that long ago, when mur­der only made the head­lines once ev­ery sev­eral years. That was then, this is now. In the last three years in this province there have been sev­eral mur­ders.

Just this past spring Al­fred Guy Vuozzo was sen­tenced to life in prison with no pa­role el­i­gi­bil­ity for 35 years for killing two men in slay­ings that the Crown says were car­ried out to avenge the death of his sis­ter in 1970.

He had been con­victed of the mur­ders of Brent McGuigan, 68, and his son Bren­don McGuigan, 39.

This past spring as well a Char­lot­te­town youth was found not guilty of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der in the stab­bing death of 45-year-old Kent David Gallant.

The dust has barely set­tled on that case but once again we find the word mur­der star­ing down at us from the head­lines fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of a woman’s body Fri­day in a wooded area of Pleas­ant Grove.

Joel Lawrence Clow, a 46-year-old fish­er­man has been charged with her mur­der.

Clow has also been charged with in­de­cently interfering with hu­man re­mains, a charge which, while not as se­ri­ous as mur­der, will likely add to the an­guish of fam­ily and friends of both the de­ceased and the man al­leged to have taken her life.

But it must be stressed that Clow, at this point in time, has only been charged with these crimes.

He has yet to be proven guilty of any­thing re­lated to this in­ci­dent. What will come of this only time will tell. He could be con­victed of these of­fences at trial. Or he could be found not guilty. Those de­ci­sions rest in the hands of the judge, or the judge and jury, should he elect to be tried by a jury of his peers.

The mur­der of 40-year-old Traci Lynch — her iden­tity was not re­leased by po­lice but was con­firmed by fam­ily — will once again cause many read­ers to stop and think about has hap­pened.

Many will ex­press sym­pa­thy for those who grieve.

Some will voice their anger at the man ac­cused of those crimes.

This in­ci­dent will also, we sus­pect, prompt many to ques­tion what could pos­si­bly drive a think­ing, feel­ing hu­man be­ing to com­mit such vi­o­lent crimes and to ques­tion how they might have been pre­vented.

It may also kin­dle yet another dis­cus­sion on how those who com­mit mur­der in this coun­try should be pun­ished if they are con­victed.

Should they be in­car­cer­ated for life, as the Crim­i­nal Code now dic­tates?

Should Canada, as some sug­gest when mur­der rears its ugly head, con­sider bring­ing back the death penalty?

Or is there some­thing else which Canada as a coun­try can do that ad­dresses both the is­sue of pun­ish­ment and the need to change the mind­set of those prone to vi­o­lence?

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