Recently I've been seeing a good amount of press coverage related to the Abraham Shakespeare murder in Florida where the suspect, DeeDee Moore, incriminated herself by revealing unreleased information about Shakespeare's death to the press. It's been reported that DeeDee, an apparent friend of Abraham's, killed him in order to get a hand on his Florida lottery winnings.
What interests me most about this case and many others like it are the headlines that they make. Is it because the amount of money is so large that it's easier for people to wrap their head around the idea of killing for it?
What about the people who pull the trigger for much less? Can you imagine taking someone else's life for a pair of sneakers worth $100? I've seen it before and I've seen it for much less... Unfortunately it happens everyday in my world. These cases don't make the national media and many times do not even make the local news. Why is that?
I recently worked a homicide case involving a 16-year-old male and an older adult who met on Halloween night after the older of the two phoned the younger to set up a meeting so he could buy a bag of marijuana. Apparently both parties were preparing for something different and each was planning to rob the other. A verbal and physical confrontation escalated to gunfire, which left the adult dead in a courtyard with a $5 bill in one hand and a small bag of marijuana in the other.
After weeks of investigating lead after lead on this case, I finally tracked down the 16-year-old drug dealer. During questioning, I was able to pull a confession out of him as he cried self-defense. The story he told was what I had figured all along -- he was planning to rob the victim, but was surprised when the tables were turned. As I took him off to jail, I asked how much money he was hoping to get that night. Even though I've been dong this for years, I was still amazing to hear him tell me that he was hoping for just $20.
The local news covered this story on the night that it occurred, but only because of the fact that it was Halloween and there were children trick-or-treating in an area where over 20 gunshots were fired. After the arrest of the killer, the media had no interest in the story of another robbery turned homicide.
In my opinion the dollar amount doesn't matter because the end result is always the same. I've seen far too many victims take their last breathe in front of me and I've informed far too many mothers that their sons have been killed. I've found that the motivation for killing is commonly and unfortunately rooted in jealousy and greed. A want that is mistaken as a need can be a dangerous thing.
No matter the neighborhood, the color of your skin or the car that you drive, jealousy and greed coupled with a lack of respect for life can lead people to kill. Does media coverage of a case prohibit another from happening? I'm not sure, but from my experience, I'm fairly certain that dollar amounts dictate media coverage.