It was a warm day, a summer evening like any other. On the fateful day of June 11,1996, Jessica Ballew was planning to stay the night at a family member’s house. As the little girl played on the front porch while three adult family members looked on, Sidney Cornwell came up to the little girl and asked her a question. “Have you seen Richard ‘Boom’ Miles?” This individual had nothing to do with the family; he lived downstairs from the man. When advised that Miles wasn’t there, Cornwell shot the 3-year-old girl on the head, killing her instantly. He then turned the gun onto the family members, who survived their grave injuries.
Yesterday, on Nov. 15, Gov. Ted Strickland decided to grant Cornwell pardon just hours from being destined to die by lethal injection. Now, no mercy for little Jessica Ballew will be granted.
Why was Cornwell given his life back? He had Klinefelter’s syndrome, which most notably made the man’s testicles very small. He had been teased about it as a child and the governor felt pity for him.It’s uncertain whether the governor had pity for the child murdered and her family.
Klinefelter’s syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that gives a man a full set of female chromosomes (X,X) in addition to the standard male set (X,Y) of chromosomes. Because of having a female set of chromosomes, Cornwell essentially had all of the makings of being female in addition to having everything it took to be a male. His breasts would likely be enlarged, his testicles would be small, and he would have less body hair, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Here are some more symptoms of Klinefelter’s syndrome:
* Weaker bones
* Wider hips than other males
* 95-99% likelihood of infertility
* Developmental delays
* Lower energy levels
One thing that strikes this editor is what this pardon will mean for other people with chromosomal abnormalities, transgender issues, homosexuality, gender identity crisis, and those who have underwent post-operative gender reassignments. If someone with small testicles can be spared the death penalty despite murdering a child in cold blood, where do we as a society draw the line about law, justice, and acceptable crime/punishment?
Is there a “get out of jail/death row free card” available for the taking as long as a criminal has a good enough lawyer to recognize the loopholes in the justice system? As a governor, doesn’t Strickland have a duty to uphold justice and public safety?
Justice was miscarried yesterday for the Ballew family. A child killer will now serve the rest of his life sentence behind bars at the taxpayers’ expense.