It took nearly four years to sentence the killer of a Des Moines police officer in Washington State. Charles Champion was sentenced yesterday to 34 years in prison for the murder of Steven Underwood, whose family and colleagues had beleived “the criminal-justice system had worn them down,” says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
“Who is Charles Champion? He is a punk, a thug, a selfish scum-sucking parasite,” said the victim’s father, Dick Underwood, at a sentencing hearing. “Every man has a path in life to choose, Charles, and you chose the path of evil.” Champion, 22, said, “Something was wrong with me that night. I don’t know what it was. “I’m not no heartless killer. I’ve never been heartless.” It was one of the longest-running criminal cases in state history. Several appointed attorneys were replaced, and trials were delayed. Judge Anthony Wartnik came out of retirement to wrap up the case.