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Lincoln Daily News
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Why the differences in sentences in children's deaths?  
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To the editor:

I have been in an interracial relationship for 21 years, but perhaps I still don't know nearly enough about racism in America.

DECATUR -- Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007, a Macon County jury returned guilty verdicts of child endangerment against Amanda Hamm in the deaths of her three young children more than three years ago.

Her former boyfriend Maurice LaGrone Jr., 31, was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in April in the deaths. The jury spared him the death penalty and sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole.

Hamm was initially charged with three counts of first-degree murder of her children before the trial began, but DeWitt County Judge Stephen Peters granted a request from Hamm's attorney Steve Skelton to allow the jury to consider the lesser offense of child endangerment.

[to top of second column in this letter]

Hamm received a 10-year sentence, and she will receive credit for the three years she has been in jail awaiting trial, leaving less than two years left to serve. Her lawyer says she could be free in 14 months.

Christopher Hamm, 6, Austin Brown, 3, and Kyleigh Hamm, 23 months -- three innocent children drowned. African-American male -- life sentence without parole; Caucasian woman -- 10 years, free in five.

Neither of them was innocent, so why the difference in sentences?

I will likely receive heated responses, but tell me race was not a factor!

No one wants to talk about it, and no one will admit to it.

Brian Dukes

(Posted Feb. 10, 2007)

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