Patterico's Pontifications

2/16/2008

A Murder Solved

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 10:52 am



[Guest post by DRJ]

A Houston-area youth minister in his late 20s has confessed to a robbery and murder he committed when he was 16 years old. He was not a suspect and the case would not have been solved but for his voluntary surrender and confession:

“Just ordained as a youth minister earlier this year, Calvin Wayne Inman had a heavy heart and a secret he could no longer keep.

The Pasadena man knew he needed to surrender to authorities for something he said he did as a 16-year-old in 1994. That’s when, police said he told them, he fatally stabbed a 64-year-old convenience store clerk for cash and cigarettes.

Earlier this month, Inman told authorities he and a then 13-year-old friend planned to rob Mumtaz Grocery store the afternoon of Aug. 14, 1994. When the store’s clerk, Iqbal Ahmed, asked for identification, Inman told police he pulled out a large kitchen knife from his pants and stabbed Ahmed once in the chest.

Ahmed died at the store. The two teenagers fled to a nearby apartment complex and never spoke about the incident — leaving the case unsolved for more than 13 years.”

The 13-year-old confirmed Inman’s story but cannot be charged due to his age. Inman has been charged as an adult with capital murder so, if convicted, he could receive the death penalty a life sentence. He has a wife, a child, and is also a foster parent to an abandoned child.

Ahmed’s 4-year-old grandson was in the back room of the store while he was killed and found his grandfather’s body. Ahmed was described by his son-in-law as a person who wanted to help kids and loved America:

“[Ahmed] was very strict,” Rahmani said. “He didn’t want any kids to go the wrong way. Maybe he was trying to teach them like he did his own kids.”

Ahmed was a native of India and had worked as the assistant director of tourism for the country. He moved to the United States in the 1970s. “When I was planning to move from India, he told me to go to the USA,” Rahmani said. “He had an American soul.”

This will be a difficult case for everyone.

— DRJ

28 Responses to “A Murder Solved”

  1. Umm…I don’t think he can receive the death penalty since he was juvenile when the crime was committed.

    Timothy Watson (e0ceea)

  2. Absolutely right, Timothy. Thanks and I’ll fix it. As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of Roper v Simmons.

    DRJ (3eda28)

  3. On one hand, it is commendable that the guy confessed after having found God.

    On the other hand, it gives me pleasure to know he’ll spend the rest of his life ministering to convicted felons.

    otcconan (051cba)

  4. Sorry otcconan, but would justice really be served by Inman receiving life in prison? He has turned his life around completely. Justice may be blind, but also merciful. Hard choices.

    lynndh (a20f74)

  5. HANG HIM BY THE NECK TIL HE IS DEAD

    krazy kagu (79fc72)

  6. “As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of Roper v Simmons.”

    Who is? :)

    I live not far from where two of the Beltway sniper shootings were, so I sure as heck wasn’t happy when the decision came out.

    Timothy Watson (e0ceea)

  7. He has a wife, a child, and is also a foster parent to an abandoned child.

    And he will no longer be there for them. His confession is pure self-indulgence. And fruitless, in any case. There is no redemption through punishment and no virtue in suffering.

    Hmm, it might be better to have him behind bars, after all. Not so much for the murder but so, as a preacher, he will not be infecting his parishioners with his kind of thinking.

    nk (6ef207)

  8. This is an interesting one for the whole “What is the prison system for” question. Is is for vengance (Lockem up even if they are “reformed” now)…reform (if the guy is reformed then does he need to go to prison? well, or does he need to stay there for any length of time?), or to protect the public from dangerous people (which begs the question HOW reformed is this guy? Is he really reformed?)….. Then of course there is the whole question of why this guy should go up for life when he would probably get a MUCH reduced sentance if he had anything to “plea bargain” with, even if he were a known career criminal. One to watch.

    EdWood (df99ab)

  9. I am hoping fervently that the prosecutor will refuse to light the torch for this guy’s self-immolation and dismis the charges, leaving him out there to make his peace with his God without wasting the scarce resources of our criminal justice system.

    nk (6ef207)

  10. you found jesus! you get a free murder/get out of jail card!

    assistant devil's advocate (38a02f)

  11. This will be a difficult case for everyone.

    If the comments are any indication, you’ve hit the nail directly on the head.

    Since he’s confessed, and I’m relatively certain he will simply plead guilty to the charge, I suspect that there will not be a trial. That leaves adjudication in the hands of the prosecutor and the judge (as well as the defense attorney, if he retains one, or the court appoints one on his behalf.)

    I suspect he will serve some time but not life.

    Antimedia (1285f5)

  12. Difficult? The smart alec part of me says that considering he is from Pasadena, Texas the Joe Horn standard should apply – kill him and quickly because he is a criminal.

    The rational part of me says Kudos to him for admitting to it but that is all that should be extended in the way of kudos. A man was deprived of his life 13 years ago in a senseless crime.

    Life in prison is too harsh but some punishment is in order. Skakel got twenty years for killing Martha Moxley.
    This guy confessed so 10-20 with no parole before 10 would be reasonable in my view.

    There is some case that shows up on the court tv and MSNBC from time to time about a guy who killed two police officers in the late fifties and in the last few years was finally caught and sentenced for the rest of his life. He had lived a model life since the murders.

    voiceofreason2 (a23a53)

  13. nk –

    His confession is pure self-indulgence.

    Not so, at least not entirely. Ahmed’s family has had to live for years with the fact that his murderer was never caught. They’ve wondered for years why he was killed, why such a tragedy had to happen. Now they know. It’s small comfort, but it will at least provide closure. And Inman will look in their eyes and tell them how sorry he is for what he did, and how much he wishes he could undo it, and that will also help them. Not much, just a little — but it’s still better than not knowing at all.

    Also, nk, have you ever done something you knew at the time to be wrong, then felt your conscience pricking at you to make it right? Now imagine how much worse that would feel if the wrong you’d done had been murder — and extend that over a period of years. I have no trouble understanding why Inman confessed. If you can’t understand it, then either your conscience never tells you you’ve done wrong, or else your imagination is weak.

    Robin Munn (cc08f2)

  14. Also, I’d agree with voiceofreason2 on sentencing – some amount of leniency should be granted for the fact that he confessed, but he should still have to serve an appropriate sentence for murder. I’d probably agree with vor’s suggestion of 10-20 years with no parole before 10. Which will almost certainly be 10 years since remorseful criminals like Inman are usually the very archetype of the “model inmate”.

    The one exception I would make is: if the victim’s family ask the judge for a light sentence, they should be listened to. Nobody else has as much right as they do to justice — if they choose to forgo justice and extend mercy instead, their choice should be respected.

    Failing that, though, I would say that he should be given a sentence in line with what others committing the same crime would be given, as voiceofreason2 has said.

    Robin Munn (cc08f2)

  15. I agree that mercy from Ahmed’s family might have a bearing on sentencing and it sounds like this case might not go to trial. But what if Inman is so contrite he is willing to plead to the maximum or take his chances on sentencing without offering a defense? I don’t know if that’s the case but what would a zealous advocate do in that situation?

    DRJ (3eda28)

  16. Correct me if I missed it but I didn’t see anything in the story to lead people to believe the Ahmed family would show mercy. They may feel the exact opposite.
    He should get a lawyer to represent him and plead to the best deal he can. He needs a close relative or maybe his pastor again to stress that confession doesn’t mean he should throw himself on the mercy of the court.

    voiceofreason2 (a23a53)

  17. VOR2,

    You are correct. I was speaking hypothetically about Ahmed’s family and Inman’s plea. We don’t know what either will do.

    DRJ (3eda28)

  18. “His confession is pure self-indulgence.”

    I would add to Robin Munn’s well stated counterarguments that in fact it was self-indulgent to not confess to the murders before he made the committment to having a wife and child.

    His wife most certainly has the right to know exactly who and what she is married to and then with that full knowledge decide whether she wants to remain with a man who not only murdered but kept it a secret for so long.

    Perhaps she will divorce him or perhaps her faith may see her through this arduous journey toward forgiving him as she determines his repentance and remorse.

    It is indeed a difficult situation no matter how you look at it and yet, in those mysterious ways, good can come out of this still. At the least there will be closure for Ahmed’s family.

    Dana (8d6dc2)

  19. Wow – this case raises so many issues. The primary issue here, though, is that he committed the cardinal sin – MURDER. There is a reason that there is no statute of limitations on this unspeakable crime. Inman must pay for his crime, no doubt. The only mitigating aspect is that he was a juvenile at the time, thereby (apparently) negating any death sentence. I’m not sure if his “model” life since then should carry too much weight — murder is the most reprehensible of crimes — so I would advocate at least 20 years in prison, no parole.

    david (5b510d)

  20. THOSE OF YOU FOAMING AT THE MOUTH TO PUNISH HIM BECAUSE HE FOUND GOD SHOULD REMEMBER 1. THAT WHEN HE COMMITTED THE CRIME HE WAS ONLY 16 AND WE DON’T KNOW HIS STATE AT THAT TIME. 2. THAT WHEN HE COMMITTED THE CRIME, HE WAS LIKE THOSE OF YOU BASHING HIS CHRISTIANITY. HE WAS ONE OF YOU WHEN HE MURDERED AND DID THE WRONG THING AND 3. HE CONFESSED. WOW. YES, I GRIEVE FOR THE AHMED FAMILY. I AM GLAD MR. INMAN SACRIFICED HIS FREEDOM TO GIVE THEM JUSTICE. I HOPE THAT WE CAN SACRIFICE OUR RUTHLESS HATRED TO ALSO GIVE JUSTICE TO MR. INMAN’S CONFESSION. AFTER ALL, WE DESIRE JUSTICE, NOT PERSONAL GRATIFICATION.

    ANA (dfd507)

  21. Cool. The idiot put himself at the mercy, or lack of, his fellow human beings who are pretty much fairly represented in these comments. My point is made. Judgment of a human by humans is to be avoided and fought against at all costs and only a suicidal idiot willingly submits himself to it.

    nk (6ef207)

  22. I am proud of Calvin. I have had the true pleasure of calling this man a friend for almost 15 years. I wish that the world only knew the journey that he has made from his youth and the positive effect that he has had on the young people here in Pasadena.

    He believes that what he is doing is the right thing. He could no longer live with his guilt. And, it takes a courageous person to step up and take responsibility for an act like this.

    Please pray for Calvin, his family, and for Mr. Ahmed’s family. Also, pray that GOD’s will be done regardless of the outcome. Because that is all that Calvin wants and desires from this. Without him taking full responsibility than how can GOD be glorified?

    jhash01 (c2297f)

  23. What about this? EVERYONE who is imprisoned for life becomes sorry that he committed a serious crime. The imprisoned feel for their victims and their own families. Should they, too, be released from prison? Should their sentences be reduced/commuted? Why not have the perpetrator of the crime be sentenced as all other murderers are, to life in prison? From there, he can work with prisoners who will one day be released to help them to turn around their lives.

    remember (3d388a)

  24. Without him taking full responsibility than how can GOD be glorified?

    That’s as insane a statement as has ever been heard. God has a need to be glorified?

    Inman is not taking responsibility. He is abdicating responsibility. He has surrendered his freedom and responsibility to the criminal justice system. He has abandoned his wife and children. Who will support them now?
    May God forgive him for this new sin he is committing and those who taught him this idiocy.

    nk (6ef207)

  25. I’m not a theologian, NK, but it’s not enough in my Christian faith (and I’m one of those quasi-secular Episcopalians) to seek private, personal absolution. One must also repent, and that means more than the Catholic approach that seeks absolution from God or His church representative.

    What Inman did was put himself right with society and with God so he can have everlasting life. Any adverse effect it may have in his earthly, transitory life is minor compared to the eternal benefits, and we trust in God to protect and care for our loved ones. It’s hard to feel this way sometimes but that’s the perspective.

    DRJ (3eda28)

  26. What Inman did was put himself right with society and with God so he can have everlasting life. Any adverse effect it may have in his earthly, transitory life is minor compared to the eternal benefits, and we trust in God to protect and care for our loved ones. It’s hard to feel this way sometimes but that’s the perspective.

    Nicely put DRJ. I was raised as a Presbyterian and agree with your view. I’m also a huge believer in the idea that there is a purpose in everything, good and bad, that happens to a person has a purpose if the sincerely faithful are willing to listen and be guided accordingly.

    voiceofreason2 (fb7108)


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