The June 22 Columbian story reported “Woman sentenced in roommate’s death: She gets 21 months for refusing to call 911 during diabetic episode.” Clark County Superior Court Judge Daniel Stahnke decided to send a “developmentally disabled” lady to prison, ignoring pleas of both prosecution and defense for a compassionate, more lenient sentence. I am appalled, and so should be any citizen who seeks justice.
Twelve years ago I drove past a rural home on fire, at dawn. No cell service forced me to the neighbor’s. The lady inside could see me, but would not come to her door or phone, despite my shouts of “Fire” and “Call 911!” She shook her head. I ran to the burning home, which was empty. I ran back to the only neighbor and aroused the man of the house by pounding and yelling. He quickly called 911, and explained that the lady was mentally disabled. She was not allowed to come to the door for anyone. My initial anger turned to embarrassment and remains a lesson learned. Stahnke is welcome to share my embarrassment, but sending a mentally challenged lady to prison for two years seems unconscionable. Stahnke’s ruling stank.