Sentences for capital crimes

There's been quite some discussion in Finland over the triple murder in Porvoo, where a person called Esa Åkerlund shot three people at a McDonald's drive-in queue. As usual, the fanatics like Pekka Sauri are advocating a ban on legal handguns when someone commits murder using an illegal one - just like with the case of Ibrahim Shkupolli half a year ago. The good thing is that the Ministry of Interior is not completely bollocks.

Many other people who have some common sense are, justifiedly, asking that how is this possible: a man is sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife, then released and kills again so soon.

Before murdering his wife, Åkerlund was convicted of a manslaughter using a knife in a restaurant, but in the Kouvola court of appeals, the sentence was revoked. The technical evidence was compelling: it was Åkerlund's knife, and the victim's blood. But unsurprisingly, in the court of appeals there were new witnesses defending him, and the witnesses against him did not want to testify. The latter were obviously smart enough to figure out that the law offers them no protection, while a murdered can definitely reward them with death, and there is nothing that the police or courts are going to do about it before it happens.

So, 15 years after executing his wife, half a year after he was released, he has an illegal handgun duly supplied by pals, and he murders three other people over a petty argument concerning the horsepowers of a vintage American convertible car.

Why was he released? Why was he not followed up?

However, while we should be asking these questions, it seems that the sentencing in Finland is not nearly as bad as it could be. Compare it to this case in Sweden: http://www.thelocal.se/27768/20100713/

A man murders his sister's boyfriend as a so-called honour killing, using hot oil, knives and blunt instruments. And the sentence? Four years of youth detention. And no, he's not been deported back to Afghanistan.

The bad news is that as is the historical trend, we're probably heading towards the Swedish model.

But I have to type it again.

Four years of youth detention for a premiditated murder commited with hot oil, knives and blunt instruments.

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