What do you do when you are forced to live with the poor decisions of other people?
I have been contemplating this question since Monday and cannot come up with an acceptable answer. It is especially difficult because I have no recourse for these decisions, and I literally do have to live with them. I am forced to, regardless of the injustice of it all. However, it doesn’t mean I have to like them, and it certainly doesn’t mean I am going to take them lying down.
Every day I live with the poor decisions made on June 8, 2016, by a twenty four year old that chose to drink all day, get high, shoot guns out near Denver International Airport, then drive his car at 111 mph on a two lane road because he wanted to “see what his car could do.” He lost control of his car and hit my husband head on, ending my husband’s life. The impact was so severe that the engine from the perpetrator’s car was thrown into an adjacent field. He showed little remorse at the scene and cried about his car. The fact that he killed Kent Swanson didn’t seem to be as important as his car.
On Monday, April 20, 2020, I received word that my husband’s killer is going to be released to a halfway house. To say that I was shocked to receive this news is a colossal understatement. Considering the fact that the offender has not even served 3 years of a ten-year sentence, I find the actions of the Community Corrections Board in Adams County, Colorado, absolutely deplorable.
As the victim of this crime, I have been told I have no recourse. There is no “Victims Right to an Appeal” for a decision coming from Community Corrections. Basically, once an offender goes into the prison system, the justice you were told you would have in court no longer applies because the criminal now has all of the rights. It’s as though your voice as a victim is completely taken away and your deceased loved one is merely a number in a file that someone is anxious to close.
My husband’s killer received a 10-year sentence that he agreed to serve. I want him to do his time, and this is NOT too much to ask. He should be held accountable for the poor decisions he made that I am forced to live with every day. Instead of the criminal serving time, it is the loved ones of Kent Swanson that are doing time because we have been sentenced to life without him.
Instead of holding my husband’s killer accountable for his deplorable actions, the Community Corrections Board of Adams County, CO, decided to add insult to injury and made another poor decision that I am now forced to live with. My husband’s killer gets to go to a halfway house after barely serving 2 and a half years in prison. How is this justice? How is this holding the killer of Kent Swanson accountable for the egregious crime he committed? This is not, in any way, shape, or form, the 10-year sentence that was granted in court. This is letting a killer off easy because a Community Corrections Board cares more about a budget, overcrowding, or Covid-19 concerns.
The decision made by Community Corrections in Adams County, Colorado, about my husband’s case is an absolute travesty that has completely minimalized the horrendous crime that took the life of Kent Swanson. It has also made a complete mockery of the justice system in Colorado.
Although I realize it is not my personal responsibility to keep my husband’s killer locked up, I cannot help but feel that I have failed Kent in this because the justice we were granted in court has been wrongfully taken away and I can do nothing to stop it. It’s heartbreaking to know that I cannot change this.
Sadly, it’s yet another poor decision I am forced to live with.