Bonner County received a major financial break when cold-blooded killer Faron Earl Lovelace decided to save his life and rot in prison.
Under 2002 sentencing rules handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, the rural North Idaho county faced the unhappy prospect of sequestering a jury to resentence the white supremacist who has lived in the shadow of the gallows for eight years for the 1995 slaying of neo-Nazi skinhead Jeremy Scott, 24. Rather than push ahead with a sentencing trial this fall, Lovelace accepted an offer from the Attorney General’s Office for a life sentence without possibility of parole.
His decision saved cash-strapped Bonner County about $250,000.
Bob Cooper, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, told The Spokesman-Review that the state’s decision wasn’t based on economics.
Kathryn Main, half sister of the murder victim, won’t agree with Idaho’s decision. In March, she told this newspaper she wanted to see Lovelace sentenced to death again and planned to attend the September resentencing proceedings. But the attorney general’s deal was a good one for everyone else.
Bonner County won’t have to spend money it doesn’t have to put Lovelace to death. The community is spared a two-week trial in which the nation would have been reminded of white supremacism’s presence in North Idaho in the recent past. Lovelace, meanwhile, faces the awful sentence of life behind bars without parole – a prospect that prompted him to serve as his own attorney at his trial, plead guilty and ask for the death penalty.
Whether or not the state’s decision was based on economics, Bonner County officials are relieved by the outcome.
They may have had to borrow money to meet the new Supreme Court demand that only a jury could deliver death sentences. In December 1997, now-retired District Judge James Judd imposed two death sentences on Lovelace, for murder and for kidnapping. Lovelace was violating his parole for an armed robbery when he kidnapped Scott and later shot him in the back of the head with a .38 caliber pistol. At different times, Lovelace has said, he killed Scott because Lovelace thought he was an informant or he was helping fellow racist Chevie O. Kehoe, claim Scott’s girlfriend.
Kehoe is now serving a life sentence in prison for murdering an Arkansas family.
At one time, Lovelace, who has spent 27 of his 48 years in prison, was determined to be an assassin for the white race, one of a long list of bigoted characters attracted to the supremacist movement and this area who tried to trigger a race war by robbing banks, bombing buildings, murder and other crimes. Some of these evil people are dead. Some are on the run. Many remain locked in prison.
They didn’t succeed in founding a white homeland in the region. Rather, they overstepped, alienated their neighbors and lost everything in North Idaho when a civil lawsuit bankrupted the Aryan Nations.
The agreement hammered out by Attorney General’s Office with Lovelace is a reminder of what the region once faced. Luckily, Bonner County won’t have to spend a small ransom trying to execute Lovelace.
The next news we want to hear about him is that he has died in prison.
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