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An Error Not To Be Repeated

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Linda Deutsch reports for AP:

Gregory Powell, who was convicted of killing a Los Angeles police officer during an infamous kidnapping that inspired the true crime book and movie "The Onion Field," has died in prison at age 79, authorities said Monday.
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Powell and Smith were originally sentenced to die, but the penalties were reduced to life in prison when the California Supreme Court overturned the state's death penalty. The punishment has since been reinstated, but didn't apply retroactively.

The crimes were documented in 1973's "The Onion Field" and the 1979 film of the same name, both written by Joseph Wambaugh, a former Los Angeles police officer.

"I guess this is the end of the story," Wambaugh said. "They are all gone now. Maybe I'll feel more at peace when I drive by the intersection of Carlos and Gower."

Los Angeles city officials last week dedicated the Hollywood corner as "Ian Campbell Square," named for the officer who died.

It is a travesty that Powell was allowed to live out his natural life rather than receive the punishment he was sentenced to and so richly deserved.  Let's not make the same mistake again, Californians.

3 Comments

Kent, I think you are unintentionally a little unfair to the good people of California. I'll defer to your memory over mine, but IIRC, the California Supreme Court made the original mistake, and the people did their best to correct it by removing some of the rascals.

In other words, the last line could be read to imply that Californians made a mistake--they didn't.

Yes, they did. Californians put back in office the man who gave them Rose Bird. (He showed his gratitude by giving them another Rose Bird.)

The last sentence is in the spirit of not forgetting history so as not to repeat it.

FWIW, the author of the 1972 decision was appointed by Ronald Reagan. That appointment was, in the words of President Eisenhower, the biggest damn fool mistake he ever made.

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