Should Not Taking a Plea Cost You Your Life?

Was Travion Blount sentenced to six life sentences plus 118 years because he killed someone? No. In my opinion, he was given six life sentences because he dared to go to trial. Travion did not accept a plea. If our justice system was meant to be ‘just’, Travion would not have received six life sentences, plus over 100 years more than the other two participants in the same crime. The other two each pled guilty and did not go to trial. One received ten years and the other received thirteen years.

Travion was involved in an armed robbery with two of his friends. He was the youngest of the three, at fifteen. The older boys were eighteen years old, and one of them struck a victim in the head. Otherwise, no one was injured in the crime.

All in a day’s work, a judge handed down six life sentences plus 118 years. People are fighting for Travion, but he still sits in prison. The robbery took place nearly ten years ago, in September, 2006. As of today, his release date is listed as November 13, 2043. I suppose that is an improvement from six life sentences plus 118 years, but it isn’t just.

From the first time I contacted Travion, he has never failed to ask me how I am doing. He asks me about my life and family. He tells me about his. He tells me about classes and programs he is trying to take or has taken. He has said more than once, he tries to stay ‘out the way’. He says he’s waiting, but it’ll work out. He doesn’t get to see his family much, not because they don’t want to see him, but because the state placed him in a prison on the other side of the state from them. Travelling that far is not only a challenge, it is also very expensive. In spite of that, Travion stays positive in the face of all that is negative.

Usually, I only read of support for Travion, but every now and then I will read an ugly comment about crime and ‘doing the time’. When I read those, I have to wonder how someone gets to a place in life where they feel there is no place for mercy in this world. Travion was only a kid when he was told there would be no second chance for him. His life was over. Yet, every letter I get from him includes, ‘how’s your family?’ or ‘how are you?’ He tells me things will work out. He doesn’t complain. He doesn’t ask for anything.   He thanks me for caring. If I could talk to the man who sentenced him to six life sentences plus 118 years, I would have to simply ask him, ‘why?’

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