Justice for all?

I’ve been following the murder trial of Eric McLean (the "love triangle murder" where Eric shot his wife’s teenage lover), and have thought to myself how hard it would be to be on that jury.

There are volumes of news articles here (scroll down to the "McLean Files" blue box on the left, under the picture), but basically, the facts boil down to this:  West High School student teacher Erin McLean, age 29, was engaged in an affair with one of her students.  The pair flaunted the affair, tormented husband Eric McLean with degrading remarks and threats to take his children.

Eric McLean took a rifle from his father’s house, planning to commit suicide, two weeks before the shooting.  At one point, Eric McLean walked in on the pair having sex in his own house… but he didn’t kill anyone, even as the purloined rifle sat in the laundry room. 

Days later, as Erin McLean was retrieving her belongings to leave with Sean Powell, her teenage lover, Eric McLean went to Powell’s car with the rifle to scare him away.  Powell told McLean, "in two weeks, your kids will be calling me ‘Daddy’."  McLean says that Powell grabbed for the rifle, then he jerked it back and the rifle went off — shooting Powell in the face.

There’s a lot more, but it’s all covered by the media already.  WBIR has extensive coverage in addition to the News Sentinel.

To me, it seems like justifiable homicide (although I’m not sure there is such a thing in real life).  At worst, I could vote for voluntary manslaughter, but would recommend a suspended sentence and probation, along with mandatory counseling.

The one who really needs to be on trial here is Erin McLean — for statutory rape, abuse by an authority figure, spousal abuse, and generally being the worst kind of human being. 

WBIR is carrying video of the trial live online; watching Eric McLean testify yesterday, I can only conclude that he shot the wrong culprit.  Though Powell was no innocent victim, he’s not the one who intentionally pushed Scott McLean beyond the boundaries of grief and humiliation.  It was Erin.

Eric McLean’s only flaw was that he faithfully, desperately loved a woman who didn’t deserve the time of day.

I can only hope that the jury sees it thus.

10 thoughts on “Justice for all?

  1. Intentionally picking up a shotgun and blowing someone away just because you’ve been emotionally hurt is still first-degree murder in the eyes of the law.

    Feeling sorry for McLean’s marital situation should in no way be a defense for sanctioning murder.

  2. I’m not convinced it was intentional. Pointing a gun at someone is a terribly bad idea in most cases; in this case, it appears that the ensuing struggle resulted in an accidental shooting.

    Given the circumstances, I would be inclined to be lenient. Sort of a rare reversal for me.

  3. Netmom:
    You are getting soft in your old age. When you take a gun it is premeditated. Now, remember you are hearing his side of the story and he is fighting for his life. Believe it or not, people don’t tell the truth on the stand.

  4. Doug Seals shot his wife and her lover. Doug caught them in bed, naked, and doing the deed. Doug brought his own gun, had a carry permit, and went armed all the time. Doug kicked down the bedroom door, but had a key to the front door of the apartment. The foregoing is according to testimony at trial. I was an alternate on Doug’s jury, and if the judge in this case instructs the jury as Judge Elledge instructed us, and if the jury follows his instructions, Powell will be convicted of both felony murder and premeditated murder as was Doug.

  5. Netmom:

    You called this one. I would have never believed it. To come out with a gun, take a human life and walk away the way he will shocks my consience.

  6. Obviously, the jury felt like he had been seriously provoked over a period of time. I am totally surprised that the trial was allowed to progress without testimony of his ex-wife.

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