"Many people have difficult childhoods but do not use it as an excuse for torturing their neighbor..."
A savage French thug is handed a 15-year sentence this weekend for his part in brutally torturing a mother during a break-in of her home, right in front of her terrified young daughter. The barbarian gets no sympathy from readers of the news story published in the southern French newspaper La Provence, as the above translated comment reveals.
He did gain sympathy from the judge, however, who reduced the original 20-year sentence down to 15 because of extenuating circumstances presented during the trial by the defendant's attorney.
The case is outlined in this earlier report from the same La Provence newspaper, loosely translated by myself:
Catherine’s hell, tortured before her young daughter’s eyes
…Cyril Ouhab, 23 years old, denies being one of the trio who tortured Catherine, a hairdresser from Septèmes, into horror. The reading of the acts committed quickly froze jurors in the ancient court of Bouches-du-Rhône in terror.
Catherine was attacked in her home by three hooded, armed men. Under the eyes of her little girl, [the men] were in search of the money they claimed to be there to take. While the child was crying “Don’t kill my mother!”, Catherine was repeatedly beaten in the living room, dragged by the hair, then tied by her wrists and ankles with electric cords in her bedroom. Because they could not find the money they desired, the criminals put the radiator onto her face in order to burn her, in-between beatings.
They even searched in vain for a deep fryer to scald their victim. “I saw myself dying because they were very very violent”, Catherine related later. “They hurt my mother. They put a gun to her head”, the child specified. The criminals finally took 3,000 euros of goods, two bank cards, jewels and Catherine’s car. It was one of these bank cards that put investigators on the criminals’ trail. This card contained Cyril Ouhab’s DNA.
Before the court, [Ouhab] claimed that the stolen card had been sold to him, but he had no idea it came from this kind of savage assault. At the home of the mother of the accused, 3,720 euros in cash were found in a sock. The attorney for the defense, Mr. Antoine Béraud, was surprised that his client’s case was not dismissed, because, in a similar case [Ouhab] had been involved in, the judge had found him innocent.
Mr. Béraud mentioned also “a dramatic human context”. “There is perhaps an existential explanation”, he adds. [Ouhab]’s father committed suicide, after having killed his other brother.
Somehow I don't find myself as moved as the judge was by the revelation that this loser had a crummy father. We don't choose our life, but we do choose our reactions to it.
For some behavior, excuses are no excuse.