40-year sentence too high


Stefani Trejo

An Alabama man who murdered his daughter’s sexual abuser has been sentenced to 40 years in prison. Jay Maynor, 43, pleaded guilty to shooting and killing 59-year-old Raymond Earl Brooks in June 2014.

After enduring years of sexual abuse from her adopted grandfather, Julia Maynor still carried around the horrible memories of abuse at the hands of her grandfather, who had served less than half of his five-year sentence. He continued to live near Julia and was home on the day her father, Jay, snapped after hearing his daughter speak about how much the abuse still haunted her. He drove to Brooks’ home and shot him to death. He plead guilty to keep Julia from having to testify.

The actions of Jay Maynor were understandable and happened in the heat of the moment as he reacted to the suffering of his daughter. His sentence is far more punitive than that of the man who molested his daughter, and the court should have taken this into consideration before sentencing.

The truth is, the real injustice in this situation is that Julia’s grandfather was a mere five years and that he served less than half of it. His granddaughter was sentenced to a lifetime of PTSD and harmful memories that have contributed to her divorce and continued emotional issues despite counseling. Is it any wonder that her father snapped when she was upset and recounting details he had never heard before?

No doubt, murdering someone in anything but self defense is wrong. There is no denying that Jay Maynor needs to pay for his actions; no matter how angry he was, murdering someone was not the answer. However, punishing him for 40 years, which could conceivably for the remainder of his life, is not the answer and simply exacerbates the suffering of his daughter, along with the rest of his family.

At what point does it become unacceptable to continue to put child molesters back out on the street where they can abuse over and over again while not doing anything to fix the problems? Recidivism rates in excess of 50 percent for child sex offenders means that granting these criminals short sentences should weigh heavily on the members of our judiciary, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. At what point do those hurt in some way by these predators have their lives and well-being put ahead of those who have destroyed their lives? And when they snap and, in the heat of the moment, at what point do the victims and those who love them receive some compassion from the courts?

Jay Maynor is a father who loved his daughter deeply – deeply enough to plead guilty to a homicide that he felt, in the moment, was justified so that she did not have to go through the pain of reliving her pain, of sharing with the world secrets that took her more than a decade to share with her own family. Taking that father from his daughter for four decades is too much of a price to pay.