November 10, 2012
Tracy Latimer Unjustified
Tracy Latimer of Canada was born on November 23, 1980 (Semkiw). On a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, Tracy lived with her family of six; she was the eldest of her three other siblings (Semkiw). Due to an insufficient amount of oxygen at birth, Tracy was born with Cerebral Palsy. By the age of 12, Tracy had undergone three corrective surgeries in order to “improve her quality of life” (Pickup). When told Tracy needed a fourth surgery, her parents decided she needed to die in order to prevent her from more pain (Pickup).
The very night Tracy’s parents were told she needed the fourth surgery, Robert and Laura Latimer admitted they discussed ways to kill Tracy (Pickup). Laura stated that Tracy’s life was full of “misery and pain” and “it was getting harder and harder to even have her comfortable” (Pickup). On Sunday, October 24, 1993, Robert Latimer killed his 12-year-old daughter, Tracy. While Laura and her three other children were on their way to church, Robert took Tracy outside and placed her in the cab of his truck. He then hooked up a hose that led from the truck’s exhaust pipe to the cab of the truck (White). For over thirty minutes Tracy Latimer inhaled carbon monoxide (Pickup). Carbon monoxide poising is not only painful but has been become an illegal action as to killing dogs (Anna). Robert stated in court that “she [Tracy] made three or four coughing noises, she never started to cry…. I was sitting there watching through the back window” (Pickup). Robert then moved Tracy’s dead body back to her room in a sleeping position; he planned for either his wife or one of the children to find the limp body (Pickup). After Robert laid Tracy in her bed he burned the hose which he had cut it into small pieces (Anna). As Laura tried to wake Tracy for lunch, she immediately knew there was something wrong with their daughter. Tracy’s father then called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, pronouncing that Tracy had died in her sleep (Pickup). When the police reached the Latimer residence, they found Tracy dead, still in a sleeping position. Laura believed the death to be caused by a seizure, though Tracy only had very mild seizures that only occur every so often and are not strong enough to cause such damage (Malhotra). The Police questioned the soundness of the Latimer parent’s story and reported their apprehensions at the office (Pickup). After noticing the Police’s concerns, Robert requested for Tracy’s body to be cremated; though Laura was confused until Robert “pulled Laura into their bedroom: a few minutes later, they emerged and asked together for cremation” (Pickup). Ten days following the death of Tracy, Robert confessed to killing his daughter after new evidence showed “lethal levels of carbon monoxide in her blood” (Pickup).
Though Tracy’s mother, Laura, knew she and her husband wanted to end Tracy’s life she did not suspect Robert of killing their daughter that day (Pickup). After discussing the plot to kill her child, most would assume that Laura should have known what was to come if she left Tracy alone with Robert. However, in another statement recorded in court Robert defended Laura by saying, “She never participated in the planning. Just thoughts in general” (Pickup). Robert pronounced the timing of the death to be his “only occasion” (Pickup).
It wasn’t till a year after the death of Tracy that her father went on trial for first-degree murder. Laura was initially a witness but immediately converted to defense (Pickup). In court Laura stated that: “Her [Tracy] birth was way, way sadder than her death. We lost Tracy when she was born" (Pickup). A vast majority of the public sided with Robert’s intention of killing Tracy and even marched in protest (Malhotra). Robert Latimer was found guilty of second-degree murder, a sentence of 10 years in prison (Pickup). However, the jury requested for...
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