Many people are serving life terms in U.S. prisons. St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan dissects how one case of “senseless violence” produced such a sentence for a 50-year-old man who now can’t be released until at least age 74. It happened last spring at a gas station convenience mart, after a man honked at a woman who had stopped on her way in to let a car pass.
The man, Eddie Strong, cursed at the woman he and a friend had just honked at. When the woman’s fiance left their now-parked car, Strong pulled out box cutters and slashed him to death. He had previously served 14 years in prison for a murder in Kentucky. Hardly anyone was present when Strong was sentenced last Friday in a plea deal. Strong’s nephew said the killing “was done out of emotion. It was not planned.”