"Most Powerful Pages on The Planet"
March 17, 2009
Volume 2 - No. 9
Darwin Campbell, Executive Publisher
A Weekly Publication
SLOW JUSTICE Means NO JUSTICE!!!
Paris Murder Case Clouded By Biased Local News; Situation Opens More Painful Wounds For McClelland Family
PARIS, TEXAS - For Jacqueline McClelland and family, the sum of slow justice is no justice.
The Lamar County courtroom trying accused killers Shannon Finley and Charles Crostley appears to be a more accommodating place for these brutal men than the victimized family seeking closure, peace and justice for their son, Brandon McClelland.
“It has been frustrating so far to see this unfold,” said Jackie McClelland, mother of Brandon McClelland. “We feel that justice is not working and that everything is being done right now to give these two breaks that benefit the defendants.”
Rating her satisfaction with the justice performance and judicial process in Paris, Texas, McClelland scores court developments a terrible 2 out of 10. (1 being worst and 10 being best performance).
The latest blow to her confidence in the justice system happened when the court approved a change in venue for the trial from Paris and Lamar County to Sulphur Springs, Texas
“We are upset about the decision to move the trial to Sulphur Springs using the poor excuse of not getting a fair trial in this county,” she said. “This case is a national story, so whether you go to Sulphur Springs or Washington D.C., people have either heard about it or read about it.”
The change of venue decision was aided by testimony from one lone witness – Paris News Managing Editor Mary Madewell.
According to records, Madewell got up on the stand to offer testimony that she didn't feel the two would get a fair trial because of the publicity in the Paris News and the national attention from Internet press agencies and national media. - testimony that left McClelland's mother livid.
“My son was killed and The Paris News has taken a side in this case and that is not right.” a pained and emotional McClelland said. “Not only is this newspaper full of S%*t, it is not working to report the truth and is not honest or credible.”
Another insult and increased frustration for the McClelland's mounted when attorneys for the defendants sought to lower bonds and open the way for at least one of the two to be released until the trial begins.
McClelland believes that more investigation, scrutiny and accountability of the criminal justice system and how cases are handled in Paris and Lamar County is needed.
Such talk and acts of favoritism towards those who kill and victimize the innocent cheapens the criminal justice system in America and reduces the urgency to convict those who are violent enough to make choices to attack and harm the innocent. McClelland's death bears the marks of hate, racism and cooperative cover ups in a community that refuses to stand up and honestly examine itself in the mirror.
Brandon McClelland's body was found on a county farm road northeast of Paris, a city 100 miles northeast of Dallas. Authorities first ruled the case an accidental hit-and-run before investigators reported and autopsy confirmed that McClelland was struck and run over by a truck and dragged about 70 feet, tearing his body apart. Pieces of his skull were found scattered days after the crime.
Crostley and Finley alleged friends of McClelland were later arrested and charged with the crime.
The case has set off a national firestorm of protests and debate about Paris and focused attention on racism in the small Texas town and a town's attempt to cover it up with a dog and pony window dressing approach to race relations between Blacks and Whites living in Paris and Lamar County while blaming and pointing fingers at “outsider” agitators for bringing up the “sins” of the Texas town.
“The main fact in this case is that Brandon is dead and these two men are the ones who took my baby's life,” she said. “This fact hurts us everyday we live and no one in that court seems to listen or care about that fact or what we are feeling right now.”
Madewell, who wrote over 20 stories on the case, has been supportive of the two defendants in her writings mainly because of the biases against the Paris based activists, Concerned Citizenss for Racial Equality and the work of outside” support groups supporting McClelland, including help from the New Black Panther Party, the Tarrant County Local Organizing Committees L.O.C. and Irving activist and Irving NAACP founder Anthony Bond .
Bond is launching a protest against the Paris News for its role in supporting slanted reporting, alleged cover ups and alleged violations of journalistic ethics when dealing with the McClelland case and other Black community issues.
“I have a written complaint against Mary Madewell and The Paris News for her testimony in the Change of Venue court hearing involving the accused killers of Brandon McClelland,” Bond said.“I have spoken with many journalists and experts on this type of situation and they have all told me that what took place here is highly unethical and improper. Protests are being planned. as well as consults with Freedom of Information attorneys to get more information on actions and remedies available on this subject.”
Even more stunning is her residual strength even with the local NAACP chapter failing to even talk with McClelland as she deals with this loss.
The Rev. James Price, president of the local NAACP, attended the hearing, but spent much of his time shaking hands and talking with the district attorney. He also was noted smiling and speaking to the families of Finley and Crostley but ignored McClelland and has not offered prayers or spiritual support for the family.
Others have noted that despite her burden, pain and loss, she remains a bedrock of faith and strength for the rest of the family. The resilient McClelland continues to pray and hold out for eventual justice in the case, but sees little closure and even lesser peace as days go by.
“Brandon deserves better and I will continue to fight for him,” she said. “These men killed my only son and need to pay. There is no way that any one of them should walk free.”