Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Wherever I lay my hat
Robert Latimer, a farmer working a spread in Saskatchewan northwest of Saskatoon, murdered his 12-year-old daughter Tracy on October 24, 1993. There has never been any doubt about this.What an awful case. I don't know how I would have voted if I had been on the jury. I certainly don't think that there can be a rule that parents can kill their severely disabled children. On the other hand, I would find it very difficult to judge someone who had gone through the kind of torment that father surely suffered. Here I'm fairly clear that the rule should be that this was an unlawful killing. But, under certain circumstances, I might nonetheless decide that in this case the rule should be tempered with mercy. My judgment would probably turn on how much the father appeared to love his daughter.
Latimer told police he did it. He said he loved his daughter and could not bear to watch her suffer from a severe form of cerebral palsy. So he placed her in the cab of his Chevy pickup, ran a hose from the exhaust to the cab, climbed into the box of the truck, sat on a tire and watched her die.
Tracy was a 40-pound quadriplegic, a 12-year-old who functioned at the level of a three-month-old. She had been repeatedly operated on and at the time of her murder was due for more surgery, this time to remove a thigh bone. She could not walk, talk or feed herself, though she responded to affection and occasionally smiled. Tracy was in constant, excruciating pain yet, for reasons not entirely clear, could not be treated with a pain-killer stronger than Tylenol.
On November 4, 1993, Latimer was charged with first-degree murder. A year later, he was convicted of second-degree murder…. Over seven years later, January 18th 2001, the Supreme Court of Canada eventually upheld his conviction and life sentence.