March 01, 2009
Lawrence, Massachusetts (The Weekly Vice) -- Eric Falardeau, a 29-year-old Massachusetts man accused of beating a father of four to death, has been freed after a judge determined he wasn't intelligent enough to understand the charge against him.
Judge Howard Whitehead released Falardeau Tuesday on the grounds that his low I.Q. rendered him incompetent to understand the charges he faced. Unlike defendants who are found incompetent to stand trial due to a mental illness, Falardeau's release was based on based purely on an I.Q. that reportedly borders on mental retardation.
Prosecutors object to the ruling, arguing that the suspect graduated from Lawrence High School #208 out of a class of 300. He also received many B and C grades on his report cards.
William Beal, a 39-year-old Salem man, was beaten outside the Calumet Tavern in Lawrence. Eric Falardeau was arrested on October 24, 2000 and charged with second-degree.
The case continued for nearly a decade, outlasting two previous judges. Each hearing on the case was stalemated over the issue of his competency to stand trial. Experts at Falardueau's pre-trial hearing testified that the suspect would be unable to tell the difference between murder and manslaughter.
"If there is no quote 'mental illness," I don't have any choice but to release him," stated judge Whitehead.
The impasse was reached when the court determined that because there was no known way to raise a man's I.Q., he would likely never be able to stand trial.
The Weekly Vice Opinion:
Our condolences to Lisa Carter, who lost her husband to an alleged murderer who seems to have gotten away with his crime. You are not alone in your disbelief and outrage.
To Massachusetts lawmakers I have one question. Why have you not addressed this issue in the 8 plus years this case has been ongoing? If this man graduated 208 out of 300, the legal conclusion would be that 1/4 of all graduating classes could potentially commit crimes they will never stand trial for.
Defense attorneys across the state have now been given the ammunition they need to get hundreds of violent offenders off the hook - and what have you done to close up this asinine loophole?
Is the state of Massachusetts simply wishing to take the fast track to lunacy? Are Massachusetts voters going to just let this nonsense slide? Why?
The Weekly Vice
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