On Wednesday morning, a group of protestors gathered in front the Buchanan County Courthouse to speak out against what they say are injustices happening in the courts.
“Justice has not been being served in this town,” Jones said. “Murder, which is exactly what this was, he got six years. Child molestation, he walked away with probation. Someone got caught with weed and got 15 years. There is a problem in our justice system.”
Among those marching around the building were several mothers who lost their loved ones in violent ways. Denise Fanning, whose son Jason was shot by a St. Joseph police officer in 2017, said she is devastated that charges were never brought against the man. A settlement of $450,000 was reached in a wrongful death case in 2018.
“He did lose his job eventually a year after ,but that’s it,” Fanning said. “I think he should have been charged because he shot my son with his hands up and saying, ‘Don’t shoot me,’ and he shot him.”
Another mother who was holding signs in protest of the local judicial system was Cindy Beems, mother of Logan Beems, who was shot 21 times by Shawn Robertson in 2017. The grieving woman said she feels she has been punished more than her son’s killer who received a six-year sentence.
“I got a life sentence,” Beems said. “I got two 7-year-old little girls that will never see their father again. They’re the ones that deserve this justice. In less than three years, most likely, they will be walking around in the same place with the man who completely disregarded their father’s life.”
Beems and others said that they are mainly upset with the prosecuting attorneys of Buchanan County who they say have been making too many plea deals and not filing proper charges.
“When I voiced my concerns to the prosecutor that we had on our case, I was told, ‘I don’t work for the victims,’” Beems said. “That’s what we have for prosecutors up here.”
News-Press NOW reached out to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for comment, but did not receive a response.
Along with the plea deals, the protesters also took aim at the sentencing that allows for what they feel is too early of parole opportunities.
“Now in three months, I planned a vacation to get away, to get the girls, to calm themselves, to try to begin to heal in any way at all, and I have to cut it right in the middle to go to a parole hearing he should not even be having,” Beems said.
Fanning said she feels that many in the judicial system are not looking out for the victims of crimes and wants to see a change in the system.
“Do you see all these signs and all the names on these signs?” Fanning said at the protest. “We’ve lost all these kids. That’s what we’re trying to do; we’re trying to do something about it and it seems like nobody else cares.”