LETTER: Crime victims deserve equal rights
My brother, Jeremy Allen, was shot and killed by Michael Coffman at the Ottumwa High School on July 25, 1994. At the time, Coffmann was 16, almost 17, with a criminal background of violence. He was tried as an adult because he had already been through the juvenile system and they could no longer help him.
My brother was 15-years-old, an athlete, with a lot of potential and was a good kid.
The jury found Michael guilty of murdering my brother and he was sentenced to life without parole. A few years ago, the Supreme Court ruled sentencing juveniles to life without parole was unfair and unjust. He was then resentenced to life with the possibility of parole and as of December of 2020, he is able to be out on work release.
What is unfair and unjust about the criminal justice system is that victims and their families have no voice. When I think about how our family has been treated during this process it is maddening, exhausting and defeating. Our voice as victims did not have any impact when it comes to this case.
I support Marsy’s Law for Iowa because victims and their families deserve equal constitutional rights as the accused.
Molina Bix, Ottumwa
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