Why Paper Published Letter From Sex Offenders’ Killer


Why did the Seattle Times publish a letter from Michael Mullen, confessed killer of two sex offenders who had served their prison sentences? Mike Fancher, the newspaper’s executive editor, says the letter, which was previously reported in Crime & Justice News, was described by journalists as “methodical, cold, haunting and just creepy,” as well as being “troubling on a host of ethical levels.”

Mullen had confessed to police and in earlier letters to the press. Fancher says the newspaper concluded that “any glimpse into Mullen’s state of mind would be compelling, given that he was accused of a high-profile vigilante crime.” The Times ended up posting the handwritten letter online, but also to post the affidavit of probable cause for holding him in jail. “Certainly no one in his right mind would agree with vigilante justice,” said reporter Mike Carter, “but people are very frustrated about how society deals with sexual predators.” Carter said “the overarching sentiment (from readers) has been one of people agreeing with Mullen’s sentiments, if not his methods.”

Link: http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=fancher18&da

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