default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Classmates turned murderers

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2007 12:00 am

If any of your classmates have been killed, you'll know that it's quite a tragic shock. What can also be extremely shocking is learning that a schoolmate is in prison for committing a murder.

Earlier this week I got a call from a woman who happened to remember an old classmate/friend because his birthday was approaching. She typed his name in Google and found stories I'd written about his arrest and subsequent conviction for a double murder. She'd read nine stories by the time she decided to call me, and I think she called partly because she was in denial. The guy she'd once known was not someone she would have imagined becoming a murderer.

I've had a few such calls like that over the years, and I still get e-mails from people who knew Sarah Dutra (big case around here; she was a college student convicted of manslaughter for helping her boss's wife kill him with horse tranquilizer on 9/11). I also know what it's like, because one day I happened to hear a TV newscaster mention a name I recognized. I looked up at the screen, and there was an old high school classmate's face. A couple years later, she's now in prison for murder, and I still can't quite believe it.

I have a feeling a lot of us know someone who has been convicted of murder or manslaughter. Last year in California alone, 2,485 people were the victims of murder or nonnegligent manslaughter, according to the FBI. That works out to 6.8 victims per 100,000 people, so it's not a vast amount of deaths. But if you think about it, most of us spent 13 years in elementary and high schools, with countless numbers of classmates in various grades. That adds up to a lot of acquaintances over the years.

Even though my high school had a whopping number of about 200 students in any given year, I know one of them is now a convicted murderer. That means hundreds of us were at least slightly acquainted with her. Could there be others I don't know about?

But don't think I'm entirely pessimistic. How many of your old classmates have gone on to do great things? About a dozen of my graduating high school class got together this summer. Of those, two have gotten their doctorate degrees, one survived Iraq and one's making a lot of money doing computer stuff. We really scattered, but I know of at least one other doctor in my class.

I wonder: How many Kindergarten classes will go on to turn out both a convicted murderer and a ground-breaking doctor?

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Popular Stories



Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists