12-year-old daughter in 1993. Tracy Latimer’s father claimed his
was an act of compassion, that Tracy’s cerebral palsy caused her
suffering and misery. Latimer also said he had no regrets.
Latimer was originally convicted of second-degree murder in 1994,
but he appealed to the Supreme Court and won a second trial based
on an allegation of jury tampering. On November 5, 1997, Latimer
was found guilty again of second-degree murder.
This crime carries a mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison,
with a chance for parole after a minimum of 10 years. Unaware of
this, the jury recommended Latimer be eligibile for parole after
just one year in prison.
Disability activists fear the widespread public feeling that
Latimer should be treated leniently because of his daughter’s
disability. Media have routinely focused on Tracy’s alleged pain
and suffering rather than on the criminal actions of her father.
Vigils in memory of Tracy Latimer have been held nationwide (see
page 63 of this issue).