A British captain, eight of his soldiers and four civilians were accused of firing on colonists nearly 250 years ago.
The heinous crime known as the Boston Massacre. Tensions were white-hot in 1770, and after indictments from a grand jury, the death penalty was a real possibility.
Enter John Adams.
Adams couldn’t have foreseen his future, or even that of what would become the United States. A terrible war was years away. But he did appreciate the fact even men accused of the brutal deaths of five Bostonians deserved competent legal defense at a fair trial.
Looking back three years later, Adams wrote that his defense was “one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country.”
As opposed to a standing British army as Adams was, he knew the men needed a fair trial. Anything less would taint the big picture.
Fast forward to 2017 to a case that might not go down in the books of the history of the U.S. but still has resonated across Newton County.
The death of Caliyah McNabb has sent shockwaves across the area. The newborn was found dead Sunday, a day after her mother reported her missing from a Newton County home.
A judge signed warrants against Caliyah’s father, Christopher Michael McNabb, on Wednesday. He’s accused of felony murder and malice murder, among other charges.
Almost from the moment Caliyah’s disappearance was noted, Facebook court has been in session. Christopher McNabb has been convicted and so have other people in the family.
That’s not what needs to happen, though. Not yet.
We understand and appreciate the community’s desire to seek justice for Caliyah. The death of a child so small and innocent leads to no easy answers, and as a result, people are left to fill in the blanks — and in some cases, call for their own justice in a timeframe much more swift than the state of Georgia will dispense.
But rest assured, the wheels will turn, for all involved.
Christopher McNabb declined the services of the public defender’s office. However, unless he retains counsel on his own, it’s difficult to imagine him being left to fend for himself throughout this process (unless, of course, he enters a quick plea).
Despite the thirst for a quick verdict and punishment, the justice system must take its time. This case must be tried thoroughly and correctly.
The state — led by District Attorney Layla Zon — must lay out all evidence against Christopher McNabb. His checkered past, including multiple stays in the state prison system, looks bad but isn’t enough reason for an automatic guilty verdict.
McNabb is entitled to explain his side of the story, and to have a jury of local residents weigh the facts.
Our country is built on justice for all, and “innocent until proven guilty” should be more than a saying before a television show. Let the court system do its job, and have faith justice for Caliyah will be found in the end.
Our Thoughts is the view of The Covington News’ editorial board, which includes Editor and Publisher David Clemons and News Editor Jackie Gutknecht.