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man trades baby son's life for deer hunt, suicides

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  • iimpster
    submitted as a sterling example of the tragic web of bloodlust, and how it comes painfully home for one unfortunate Mormon redneck in the lonely Wasatch
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 30, 2002
      submitted as a sterling example of the tragic web of bloodlust, and
      how it comes painfully home for one unfortunate Mormon redneck in the
      lonely Wasatch Front...

      A Father's Pain and a Judge's Duty

      Judge Robert Hilder, who presided over the case, did not think
      Wayment was a criminal but still felt there needed to be consequences
      to his actions. (Salt Lake Tribune File Photo)
      BY BARRY SIEGEL
      LOS ANGELES TIMES

      COALVILLE UTAH -- He sat in his chambers, unprepared for
      this. "Just giving you a heads up," his court administrator was
      saying. "Paul Wayment hasn't reported in yet. They can't find him."
      Judge Robert Hilder felt uneasy. Wayment was supposed to start
      his jail sentence this morning.
      The 52-year-old judge walked slowly to his Summit County district
      courtroom. The trial under way passed as a blur. More than once,
      clerks pulled him off the bench to give him updates on Wayment. Each
      time, in his chambers, he stared out windows at the jail, hoping to
      see Paul drive up. At the lunch break, he went into Park City to eat,
      alone with his thoughts.
      He had sentenced Wayment to jail even though the prosecutor
      didn't want this distraught father to serve time. Hilder felt he had
      to. Wayment's negligence caused his young son's death. There must be
      consequences, the judge ruled.
      Now there were -- more than he had intended.
      Back at the courthouse, he walked down a hallway that took him
      past the administrator's glass-walled office. She rose and waved him
      in. Concern, he saw, strained her face. He approached her door,
      bracing himself.
      Had he driven Wayment to suicide? Hilder believed it possible.
      Just as he believed it possible that he had caused his own father's
      suicide, 20 years before.
      Although it includes the Park City ski resorts, Summit County is
      less the province of people than of rolling pastures and mountain
      forests. Only about 25,000 live in 1,849 square miles. Only one
      judge -- Hilder -- hears criminal cases. Three lawyers make up the
      county attorney's criminal division. Two private lawyers on a part-
      time retainer fill the public defender's role. When they heard of
      Gage Wayment's death, all of them knew it would come to them. They
      knew they'd soon have to make their own choices.
      The first choice, though, had been Paul Wayment's.
      There he stood last year on a radiant October morning, high in a
      remote forest. Before him spread the wild green abundance of Chalk
      Creek Basin, a rugged 8,000-foot-high hunting ground where deer and
      elk and moose wander through dense stands of golden quaking aspens.
      Behind him, strapped in a car seat in his red Dodge pickup, sat his
      son Gage, his inseparable buddy, his most precious gift, his future
      hunting partner.

      Outdoors and Choices: Paul Wayment felt more comfortable in these
      mountains than anywhere. At 38, he was an uncomplicated man, raised
      in small Utah towns, instructed in the Mormon faith, captivated by
      both hunting and the wilderness. When he worked, which wasn't always,
      it was in construction or on an assembly line. He found the insides
      of homes stifling. He was fine with silence. He could sit for hours
      high on a ridge, watching the deer, studying the sky, searching for
      bald eagles. The mountains gave him solace and sanctuary, the
      mountains made him whole.
      So did Gage. There had been a brief, troubled marriage, then a
      divorce. Now, for the time being, Paul had full custody. Gage was big
      for his 2 years and 4 months, a rambunctious 33-pound ball of energy
      who looked closer to 4. Father and son did everything together.
      Bringing his young son into the wilderness made sense to Wayment.
      There he could join together the two things he loved most. Yet on
      this morning, he had to choose between them.
      Before him stood three deer, two does and a buck.
      Behind him Gage slept in the pickup.
      The deer began to move off, gliding into the forest. Wayment
      turned toward Gage, then back to the deer. "In one brief monumental
      moment," he would later say of this instant, "I made the biggest and
      most painful mistake of my life."
      He took a step. He began to follow the deer.
      He had left Gage asleep out here once before, but that time he
      had strayed only 75 yards from the pickup. Now he was well beyond 75
      yards, well beyond sight of Gage.
      Wayment walked a mile, maybe two. While he walked, two hunters
      drove by his pickup. They saw Gage alone in his car seat, awake and
      watching them. What they saw bothered them, but they thought the dad
      must be nearby. They also feared being taken for kidnappers. So they
      drove on, deciding there was nothing they could do.
      In the forest, Wayment began to have a bad feeling. He turned and
      hurried back to the pickup. Even from afar, he could see he was too
      late. The driver's side door was wide open. The car seat was empty.
      Gage had gotten out, Gage had wandered off.
      Wayment plunged into a nearby pond, fighting a rising panic. Gage
      loved the water. That's where he would go. For sure he's in the pond.
      He wasn't, though. The pond was muddy, waist deep. Wayment
      thrashed about, reaching out, feeling nothing. He clambered out of
      the water. He raced up and down ridges, shouting Gage's name. He
      jumped into his pickup, roaring off in search of help. My son is
      missing, he gasped to the hunters he found. My son is gone.
      Rather than duck responsibility, Wayment drowned in it. The first
      deputy sheriff to arrive found him writhing on the ground, crying and
      vomiting, his face caked with snot and pond mud. "Just shoot me,"
      Wayment urged when the deputy asked what he could do for him. "

      Early Reports: Impatient with the sound bite approach to
      journalism, Judge Hilder avoids television. For his news he reads the
      major newspapers on the Internet and listens to National Public
      Radio. Yet he could not help hearing about the missing boy on the
      mountain. At the Summit County Justice Center, 30 miles east of Salt
      Lake City, people he saw every day quickly became part of the
      organized search. The Wayments were a major topic of conversation.
      Hilder's first response was as a parent, not a judge. In his
      second marriage now, he is father to six sons and one daughter,
      including two stepsons, the youngest 6 years old. Of the missing
      little boy, he thought, what a tragedy. He believed Gage had the
      slimmest of chances.
      Then Hilder began to hear hints that this might be something
      other than an awful accident. In time, the hints became no easier to
      avoid than news of the search itself. After all, there was Wayment's
      ex-wife, Brenda, telling detectives and TV cameras that she believed
      Paul had hidden Gage in order to deny her custody.
      As the search widened and more hours slipped by and the snow fell
      heavier, not just Brenda voiced suspicions. There were whispers about
      the Wayment family's "marital problems." There was talk of protective
      orders and a thick Division of Child and Family Services file. Those
      who hadn't seen Paul in the early hours wondered why he now appeared
      so stoic, so lacking in remorse. Some wondered why, with dogs and
      horses and computers and helicopters, they still couldn't find Gage.
      Many searchers came to believe that Gage was not in the forest at
      all. Many thought Paul Wayment guilty of foul play or deception.
      When darkness fell Sunday night, four days after Gage
      disappeared, officials called off their search. Sheriff's deputies
      invited Wayment to their headquarters for a polygraph exam and what
      they promised would be "a lengthy and detailed interview." The lead
      detective believed they needed to investigate the "ever-growing
      possibility that Gage had been abducted or hidden by his father."

      Personal for Everyone: In Hilder's home, the news about the
      missing child managed to filter through, as did images of Gage, for a
      house guest sometimes watched television. When would they find the
      body? When would this be Hilder's story to hear?
      The Utah Division of Child and Family Services did its best to
      quell the rising suspicions about Paul Wayment. For more than a
      decade, their own attention had been focused not on him but his ex-
      wife, Brenda, who had five children and two husbands before Paul, one
      husband after, and a 10-year history of domestic troubles. The agency
      director made this as plain as he could when he publicly confirmed
      that they had intervened with the Wayment family, but only because of
      Brenda's alleged behavior.
      The suspicions would not subside, however. Paul's sister Valerie
      Burke became convinced that authorities were dropping their search
      because they believed Paul had killed or hidden Gage. So even before
      the county withdrew Sunday evening, she made a public plea for
      volunteers to take their place.
      By midmorning Monday, about 150 citizens from across the state
      were swarming the snow-covered mountains above Coalville. Among them
      was James Wilkes, 35, the husky proprietor of a self-service pet wash
      shop in a Salt Lake City suburb.
      He brought with him his dog Dino, a giant schnauzer. At the base
      camp, he met a shy muscular man who seemed consumed by pain. Paul
      Wayment introduced himself, tears welling in his eyes. He could not
      look at Wilkes.
      Wilkes plunged into the forest with his dog. It had started to
      snow, a foot deep in places. Wilkes lost the trail and his bearings.
      It began snowing harder. Guessing at the right direction, he started
      up a mountain. Darkness fell. In time, he and Dino settled under a
      large sheltering pine tree. There he dug a hole, 2 feet by 4, and
      climbed in, his body wrapped around his dog. They each kept the other
      warm.
      It was the longest night Wilkes ever spent. Near 5 a.m., he rose
      and began to walk. Within minutes, Dino's nose went down. The
      schnauzer darted up a slope to the base of a pine tree. From below,
      Wilkes could see his dog licking a mound of snow. Then, as he
      approached, he saw two little feet.
      By the time Wilkes reached the tree, Dino had cleaned off Gage's
      face. Six inches of snow covered the small body.

      A Judge's Job: To those who wonder why he takes on the daunting
      role of judging others, Robert Hilder says: "What am I going to do?
      Not do this job and instead let someone get up there and decide
      instead of me? Someone who sees it all in black and white? Some come
      in so sure. They don't see the complexity. I'm 52. What worries me is
      people who can't see the complexity."
      Watching the Wayment case unfold from afar, it was hard now for
      anyone to ignore the complexity. They had a body. They also had new
      suspicions. Some were asking how James Wilkes could have located Gage
      when hundreds of others had failed. Some wondered whether a
      conspiracy might be the explanation -- a conspiracy between him and
      Paul Wayment.
      But the immediate issue -- perhaps the toughest of all -- was
      what, if anything, to charge.
      That decision rested with Summit County Attorney Robert Adkins.
      Like Hilder, his first response to news of a missing boy was as a
      parent. He knew the rugged terrain up there -- he was a former
      hunter -- and that gave him concern. Then he saw Brenda on TV,
      accusing Paul of hiding Gage. He hoped she was right; better that
      than a lost boy.
      Adkins could feel Paul Wayment's anguish clear to his bones. In
      1989, he had lost his own 8-year-old son in an accident at his
      grandmother's house. Adkins, who had been at work during the
      accident, never forgave himself. Something had told him, go home. But
      he had thought, I'll just finish up.
      Now they had Gage Wayment's body.

      What Consequences? When Adkins received the sheriff's report, he
      tried to focus on the facts, not the mounting public furor. Wayment
      drove into the wilderness with Gage dressed lightly in pajamas. He
      left Gage in a rugged, isolated area, with the pickup parked on a
      slant, which meant the car door could easily swing open, pulled by
      gravity. He was gone some unknowable length of time, anywhere from 30
      to 90 minutes.
      Certainly, it was not OK to do what Wayment did. Still, this was
      clearly a good man who had made a horrible mistake. He was a straight
      arrow, in fact, who didn't drink or use drugs. He had no criminal
      history. Despite the headlines and whispers, Gage's death involved no
      conspiracies.
      To forgive and empathize, or condemn and punish?
      Adkins had never forgiven himself for failing to protect his own
      son. Now he had a chance to forgive another father. That was his
      inclination. Yet there were two other prosecutors in his office's
      criminal division, and they were of different minds.
      For days, the three debated around a conference table. At times,
      voices rose. Adkins was most inclined toward leniency, David Brickey
      and Mary-Kathleen Wolsey toward exacting a severe punishment.
      In the end, Adkins had to make the call himself. Adkins
      struggled, wavered -- and finally decided they must charge Wayment
      with something. If they didn't, they would be saying it was OK, or at
      least not criminal, to leave children alone in a remote area.
      Adkins didn't really want to punish Wayment, though. He chose one
      of the mildest recommendations, negligent homicide, a misdemeanor. He
      also decided he would not seek a jail sentence. Not in this
      situation, not where the man's son had died.
      Robert Hilder learned of the prosecutor's choice when a detective
      appeared in his chambers one morning with a document that described
      the "probable cause" for charging Wayment. Hilder glanced at the
      pages as the detective stood before him formally swearing to their
      truth. The judge kept his face blank, not saying or showing anything.
      What he saw distressed him, though.
      It would have been so much easier if they hadn't charged Paul
      Wayment. They didn't have to. By filing, the prosecutors had handed
      their quandary to the judge.

      The 'Criminal' Charge: There would be no right answer in this
      matter, he believed. In no way could he make a good decision when
      this came down. Sentencing would be the hardest. In fact, if Paul
      Wayment wasn't acquitted, sentencing would be impossible.
      Judge Hilder first saw Paul Wayment face to face at his
      arraignment on Jan. 9. Although he showed no emotion, the judge knew
      his pain and shame must be unbearable. He thought Wayment a decent,
      stoic man.
      Yet there Paul stood, not just being stoic but pleading not
      guilty. A guilty plea would not have surprised Hilder, given that
      Wayment had openly accepted responsibility.

      Paul Wayment's plea that day reflected something more complex
      than his attorney's natural reflexes. The plea reflected Wayment's
      own attitude.
      From the beginning, Paul and his sister Valerie had talked of the
      consequences he faced. He felt he had to go to jail. He said it over
      and over, as if he wanted to pay a price.
      Yet Wayment recoiled when the prosecutors finally did file
      charges. They were calling what he had done "criminal" negligence.
      Negligence he readily admitted, but he had a hard time with criminal.
      He felt they were saying he intentionally killed Gage. So he was
      adamant that he wouldn't plead guilty. Valerie sensed that it was
      somehow important for Paul's sanity that he not see himself as a
      criminal.

      Bargaining for a Plea: The fevered public discourse about Paul
      Wayment reached even into Judge Hilder's bedroom. Because his
      daughter had changed the station on his alarm clock radio, there were
      two mornings when he awoke to talk show conversations. In both, he
      heard rabid voices declaring that the death penalty was not a
      sufficient punishment for this man.
      Then, in late March, came an evidentiary hearing. Three
      detectives took the stand, offering detailed accounts of what
      transpired in the days after Gage went missing. The lawyers followed,
      rising to argue over what photos of Gage and statements by Paul could
      be admitted at trial. Listening, Hilder for the first time gained
      direct exposure to this distraught father's grief and his ex-wife's
      suspicions. Nothing he heard persuaded him that this case involved
      anything more than a tragic mistake.
      That was not, however, how the Summit County chief criminal
      prosecutor, David Brickey, saw matters. He saw in Paul Wayment a
      neglectful father. Brickey had a son himself, a 10-month-old. He
      couldn't forget Gage, couldn't forget that this little boy had been a
      real person.
      Like Hilder, Brickey loves stories. What he must do in the
      courtroom, he believes, is tell the better story. He learned that
      much when he attended a prosecutors' school in South Carolina. There
      Brickey took a course on child abusers. The class taught him you
      always want to use any information that suggests the parent isn't a
      perfect person. He came back to Utah promoting the fact that
      prosecutors don't use "prior bad acts" nearly enough.
      In the Wayment case, Brickey believed there were "prior bad acts"
      in Paul's domestic problems. He believed this despite the fact that
      Adkins saw nothing in the family services file they could use at
      trial. They were not going to wade into that history, Adkins had
      resolved. They definitely weren't going to call Brenda's other
      children to the stand.
      Adkins hadn't shared that decision with Wayment's attorneys,
      though. In fact, for bargaining purposes, he had argued in court that
      the family history should be admissible. Brickey took that thought
      further in his own talks with the defense attorneys. He meant to use
      whatever he could, he told Glen Cook and Julie George. If you don't
      plea bargain, he warned them, if you go to trial, we will seek to
      establish that Paul has done this before.
      Cook and George, unsure where Hilder might land, saw no
      alternative: If Brickey was going to fling accusations, they would
      have to respond, they would have to disprove. That meant bringing in
      Brenda, bringing in the kids, bringing in the whole juvenile file.
      Outrage and frustration consumed Wayment when his lawyers told
      him what might be coming. "All that stuff isn't true," he
      shouted. "Just look at the documents. I don't understand why you have
      to disprove anything. I don't want the kids involved. I don't want
      Brenda involved."
      While they debated, they heard again from David Brickey. One
      Friday afternoon, he called Julie George to say he might also charge
      Paul Wayment with witness tampering. Wayment, it turned out, had
      contacted James Wilkes. He had asked Wilkes if they could try again
      to visit where Gage died. Wilkes had balked, for he had a lawyer now,
      a lawyer who had ordered him not to talk with Paul, not to fuel
      suspicions about their connection. They had talked anyway, among
      other things about the coming trial. Wilkes' lawyer had alerted
      Brickey. The prosecutor paid Wilkes a visit -- and brought a tape
      recorder.
      Clutching her phone, Julie George swore at Brickey, screaming and
      threatening, reminding that Wilkes wasn't even a subpoenaed witness.
      Then she called Wayment. This latest development stunned him. He
      began to cry.
      Refusing to plead guilty -- in his mind, refusing to say he
      intentionally, criminally harmed Gage -- was the strand of sanity
      Wayment had been clinging to for months. Now he let go, now he
      conceded.
      Julie George's phone rang three days later. "I need to take a
      plea," Wayment told her. "I want it over. I can't take any more."

      Sentencing Time: When his sentencing hearing began on the morning
      of July 17, Paul Wayment seemed not just stoic but hollow, as if he
      weren't there. Rising first, Summit County Attorney Robert Adkins
      talked of how "difficult" this case was, of how much "sympathy and
      empathy" his office had for the defendant. Then came defense attorney
      Glen Cook, arguing that Paul's "punishment will continue until he and
      Gage are together again." Finally Paul Wayment spoke, in an
      expressionless monotone:
      "If I could change places with my son, I would give up my life
      without question. But I can't. The life that I now live in is the
      hell that I alone created. The pain is incomprehensible. . . . The
      word 'sorry' does not even begin to express the feelings I now live
      with. . . . I admit full responsibility for my actions and will
      accept whatever punishment you deem appropriate."
      Soon enough came the horrible moment that Hilder thought such
      hell. Silence fell in the packed courtroom. As Hilder began to speak,
      Paul Wayment remained impassive while around him his relatives
      blinked back tears. Paul's sister Valerie Burke thought the judge
      seemed so soft-spoken, so kind, so determined to explain his decision
      to Paul. She also thought the judge seemed full of heartache.
      He had planned to give Wayment a 90-day sentence, a quarter of
      the possible one-year maximum. But after hearing the arguments -- and
      seeing that the probation department also opposed jail -- he chose to
      reduce the penalty and require a mental evaluation, followed by
      counseling if recommended. "The pre-sentence report . . . ," Robert
      Hilder began, "says that nobody associated with this case believes
      serving jail time will serve a useful purpose. The problem . . . is
      that none of these people have to make the decision. The decision
      comes here. . . . The court understands that there is nothing it can
      do that would be a greater punishment to Mr. Wayment than the
      suffering he's going to endure daily for the rest of his life. But
      the court cannot fully accept the argument that there shouldn't be
      some further consequence. . . . The court rules there must be a
      consequence."
      Moments later, Hilder imposed a 30-day jail sentence and invited
      Wayment to pick the date when it would start. Paul and his attorney
      Glen Cook conferred privately for 90 seconds. Then Cook said, "Thank
      you for the courtesy, judge. Tomorrow morning."
      George offered to walk Wayment to his car, as she had done before
      to buffer him from reporters. "You don't have to anymore," he said,
      patting her on the back. "It's over."
      Robert Hilder did not rise from the bench this morning feeling he
      had made the right decision. He did not walk out thinking, I got it
      right. He walked out thinking, I did the best I could.

      No Answers: The questions still haunt about Paul Wayment's final
      choice, for they can't be answered. Why did neighbors see him outside
      planting flowers just days before? Why had he just gotten a new
      hunting license, a new truck, a new job? All people know is that
      Paul, as he left his sentencing hearing, said he was "going to the
      ridge." No one stopped him, for he always went up the mountain for
      comfort. Valerie told him, "Phone me when you get home."
      Around nightfall, she started calling his house. By midnight, she
      was scared. Only in the early morning did she learn he still hadn't
      returned. Maybe he stayed for sunrise, she told herself. But in her
      heart, she knew.
      So did Julie George. "I have my four-wheel drive," she told
      colleagues at 9:45 a.m. "I'm going to go look for him."
      They found his body on a sloping ridge next to a pair of
      binoculars, a Pepsi Big Gulp and a Winchester .243 hunting rifle. He
      had picked a spot, surrounded by quaking aspens, that provided a view
      of the hills where they had searched for Gage. Julie George imagined
      his final afternoon. He had sat with the binoculars, surveying where
      Gage died. At sunset -- he would have waited for his beloved dusk --
      he had put down the binoculars and picked up the rifle.
      At the courthouse that afternoon, Hilder sat dazed in his
      chambers. Tears filled his eyes. He wanted nothing more now than to
      call his wife, Jan. When he reached her, she offered to come be with
      him. "I don't think that would help," he said. "I have to go on the
      bench."
      What consumed him as he walked into the courtroom was his
      father's suicide. He had never stopped wondering what he could have
      done. Suicides made their own decisions, he realized. Could he have
      prevented his death, though? He had left his father's farewell letter
      unclaimed, not wanting to know what it might say.
      This time, with Wayment, he did want to know. He didn't want to
      fight off his sense of responsibility.

      The Judge's Statement: On the witness stand, a water rights
      expert was testifying in another case. Only occasionally did Hilder
      listen. Mostly, his eyes were on the legal pad beside his right hand.
      Judges never do such things, but he felt compelled to compose a
      public statement. He wanted to let people know why he sentenced Paul
      Wayment to jail. Blame me for this, he would tell them. Blame me if
      you will. But not because I didn't think about it.
      The first sentence he scratched out. The rest came without
      struggle or revision.
      "It is a judge's worst nightmare that his or her actions may lead
      to unforeseen and tragic human consequences. The death of Paul
      Wayment is such a tragedy. . . . As hard as it is for me to
      contemplate any contribution of mine to Mr. Wayment's death, his
      family and the public have a right to know how I feel as a person and
      as a judge. As Paul Wayment's fellow man, I am devastated, I hurt
      deeply. . . . Having suffered through my father's suicide over 20
      years ago, I know the survivors' anguish. . . . As a judge, however,
      my sworn duty is to all who appear before me. . . . If the jail
      sentence I imposed was a factor, large or small, in Mr. Wayment's
      decision, I regret that result with all my heart, but I cannot change
      my decision. . . . For the rest of my career I will remember Paul
      Wayment and try to never lose sight of the human consequences as I
      discharge my responsibilities."
      Among those besides Robert Hilder whose choices affected Paul
      Wayment in his final months -- the lawyers, detectives, journalists,
      relatives, hunters and friends -- there is much anguish now. Many
      berate themselves. Many look to themselves when talking of
      responsibility.
      It was Hilder, though, who faced the greatest barrage of
      criticism immediately after Wayment's death. Where once there were
      calls for accountability and consequences, now there was outrage at
      the judge who provided just that. People assailed Hilder, demanding
      his resignation or dismissal, charging him with "a pathetic lack of
      wisdom," declaring him "directly responsible for the death of Paul
      Wayment."
      Soon enough, there came an even greater wave of support for
      Hilder from lawyers, pundits, hundreds of citizens and -- over and
      over -- Wayment's sister Valerie Burke. "I don't believe the 30-day
      sentence caused Paul to kill himself," she told reporters. "The judge
      was compassionate. Our family understands where the judge was coming
      from, and we don't blame him at all. He had to do what he felt was
      right."
      Hilder can only shake his head at that phrase, "what he felt was
      right." He takes comfort from all the support but is no more certain
      now than before of making correct decisions. This latest experience,
      above all, has made him look even harder at the role of the judge.
      He loves the law but does not worship it. He believes it does not
      have the answer to everything. In matters full of ambiguity, he
      suggests, there may be no good solution. He says something else as
      well: "It's not a bad thing to have Paul Wayment's face forever part
      of my life."

      ...
    • huntfish25
      ... the ... consequences ... district ... Each ... eat, ... had ... be ... him ... is ... a ... these ... always, ... big ... energy ... Wayment. ... and ...
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 18, 2002
        --- In friendsofdeer@y..., iimpster <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > submitted as a sterling example of the tragic web of bloodlust, and
        > how it comes painfully home for one unfortunate Mormon redneck in
        the
        > lonely Wasatch Front...
        >
        > A Father's Pain and a Judge's Duty
        >
        > Judge Robert Hilder, who presided over the case, did not think
        > Wayment was a criminal but still felt there needed to be
        consequences
        > to his actions. (Salt Lake Tribune File Photo)
        > BY BARRY SIEGEL
        > LOS ANGELES TIMES
        >
        > COALVILLE UTAH -- He sat in his chambers, unprepared for
        > this. "Just giving you a heads up," his court administrator was
        > saying. "Paul Wayment hasn't reported in yet. They can't find him."
        > Judge Robert Hilder felt uneasy. Wayment was supposed to start
        > his jail sentence this morning.
        > The 52-year-old judge walked slowly to his Summit County
        district
        > courtroom. The trial under way passed as a blur. More than once,
        > clerks pulled him off the bench to give him updates on Wayment.
        Each
        > time, in his chambers, he stared out windows at the jail, hoping to
        > see Paul drive up. At the lunch break, he went into Park City to
        eat,
        > alone with his thoughts.
        > He had sentenced Wayment to jail even though the prosecutor
        > didn't want this distraught father to serve time. Hilder felt he
        had
        > to. Wayment's negligence caused his young son's death. There must
        be
        > consequences, the judge ruled.
        > Now there were -- more than he had intended.
        > Back at the courthouse, he walked down a hallway that took him
        > past the administrator's glass-walled office. She rose and waved
        him
        > in. Concern, he saw, strained her face. He approached her door,
        > bracing himself.
        > Had he driven Wayment to suicide? Hilder believed it possible.
        > Just as he believed it possible that he had caused his own father's
        > suicide, 20 years before.
        > Although it includes the Park City ski resorts, Summit County
        is
        > less the province of people than of rolling pastures and mountain
        > forests. Only about 25,000 live in 1,849 square miles. Only one
        > judge -- Hilder -- hears criminal cases. Three lawyers make up the
        > county attorney's criminal division. Two private lawyers on a part-
        > time retainer fill the public defender's role. When they heard of
        > Gage Wayment's death, all of them knew it would come to them. They
        > knew they'd soon have to make their own choices.
        > The first choice, though, had been Paul Wayment's.
        > There he stood last year on a radiant October morning, high in
        a
        > remote forest. Before him spread the wild green abundance of Chalk
        > Creek Basin, a rugged 8,000-foot-high hunting ground where deer and
        > elk and moose wander through dense stands of golden quaking aspens.
        > Behind him, strapped in a car seat in his red Dodge pickup, sat his
        > son Gage, his inseparable buddy, his most precious gift, his future
        > hunting partner.
        >
        > Outdoors and Choices: Paul Wayment felt more comfortable in
        these
        > mountains than anywhere. At 38, he was an uncomplicated man, raised
        > in small Utah towns, instructed in the Mormon faith, captivated by
        > both hunting and the wilderness. When he worked, which wasn't
        always,
        > it was in construction or on an assembly line. He found the insides
        > of homes stifling. He was fine with silence. He could sit for hours
        > high on a ridge, watching the deer, studying the sky, searching for
        > bald eagles. The mountains gave him solace and sanctuary, the
        > mountains made him whole.
        > So did Gage. There had been a brief, troubled marriage, then a
        > divorce. Now, for the time being, Paul had full custody. Gage was
        big
        > for his 2 years and 4 months, a rambunctious 33-pound ball of
        energy
        > who looked closer to 4. Father and son did everything together.
        > Bringing his young son into the wilderness made sense to
        Wayment.
        > There he could join together the two things he loved most. Yet on
        > this morning, he had to choose between them.
        > Before him stood three deer, two does and a buck.
        > Behind him Gage slept in the pickup.
        > The deer began to move off, gliding into the forest. Wayment
        > turned toward Gage, then back to the deer. "In one brief monumental
        > moment," he would later say of this instant, "I made the biggest
        and
        > most painful mistake of my life."
        > He took a step. He began to follow the deer.
        > He had left Gage asleep out here once before, but that time he
        > had strayed only 75 yards from the pickup. Now he was well beyond
        75
        > yards, well beyond sight of Gage.
        > Wayment walked a mile, maybe two. While he walked, two hunters
        > drove by his pickup. They saw Gage alone in his car seat, awake and
        > watching them. What they saw bothered them, but they thought the
        dad
        > must be nearby. They also feared being taken for kidnappers. So
        they
        > drove on, deciding there was nothing they could do.
        > In the forest, Wayment began to have a bad feeling. He turned
        and
        > hurried back to the pickup. Even from afar, he could see he was too
        > late. The driver's side door was wide open. The car seat was empty.
        > Gage had gotten out, Gage had wandered off.
        > Wayment plunged into a nearby pond, fighting a rising panic.
        Gage
        > loved the water. That's where he would go. For sure he's in the
        pond.
        > He wasn't, though. The pond was muddy, waist deep. Wayment
        > thrashed about, reaching out, feeling nothing. He clambered out of
        > the water. He raced up and down ridges, shouting Gage's name. He
        > jumped into his pickup, roaring off in search of help. My son is
        > missing, he gasped to the hunters he found. My son is gone.
        > Rather than duck responsibility, Wayment drowned in it. The
        first
        > deputy sheriff to arrive found him writhing on the ground, crying
        and
        > vomiting, his face caked with snot and pond mud. "Just shoot me,"
        > Wayment urged when the deputy asked what he could do for him. "
        >
        > Early Reports: Impatient with the sound bite approach to
        > journalism, Judge Hilder avoids television. For his news he reads
        the
        > major newspapers on the Internet and listens to National Public
        > Radio. Yet he could not help hearing about the missing boy on the
        > mountain. At the Summit County Justice Center, 30 miles east of
        Salt
        > Lake City, people he saw every day quickly became part of the
        > organized search. The Wayments were a major topic of conversation.
        > Hilder's first response was as a parent, not a judge. In his
        > second marriage now, he is father to six sons and one daughter,
        > including two stepsons, the youngest 6 years old. Of the missing
        > little boy, he thought, what a tragedy. He believed Gage had the
        > slimmest of chances.
        > Then Hilder began to hear hints that this might be something
        > other than an awful accident. In time, the hints became no easier
        to
        > avoid than news of the search itself. After all, there was
        Wayment's
        > ex-wife, Brenda, telling detectives and TV cameras that she
        believed
        > Paul had hidden Gage in order to deny her custody.
        > As the search widened and more hours slipped by and the snow
        fell
        > heavier, not just Brenda voiced suspicions. There were whispers
        about
        > the Wayment family's "marital problems." There was talk of
        protective
        > orders and a thick Division of Child and Family Services file.
        Those
        > who hadn't seen Paul in the early hours wondered why he now
        appeared
        > so stoic, so lacking in remorse. Some wondered why, with dogs and
        > horses and computers and helicopters, they still couldn't find
        Gage.
        > Many searchers came to believe that Gage was not in the forest at
        > all. Many thought Paul Wayment guilty of foul play or deception.
        > When darkness fell Sunday night, four days after Gage
        > disappeared, officials called off their search. Sheriff's deputies
        > invited Wayment to their headquarters for a polygraph exam and what
        > they promised would be "a lengthy and detailed interview." The lead
        > detective believed they needed to investigate the "ever-growing
        > possibility that Gage had been abducted or hidden by his father."
        >
        > Personal for Everyone: In Hilder's home, the news about the
        > missing child managed to filter through, as did images of Gage, for
        a
        > house guest sometimes watched television. When would they find the
        > body? When would this be Hilder's story to hear?
        > The Utah Division of Child and Family Services did its best to
        > quell the rising suspicions about Paul Wayment. For more than a
        > decade, their own attention had been focused not on him but his ex-
        > wife, Brenda, who had five children and two husbands before Paul,
        one
        > husband after, and a 10-year history of domestic troubles. The
        agency
        > director made this as plain as he could when he publicly confirmed
        > that they had intervened with the Wayment family, but only because
        of
        > Brenda's alleged behavior.
        > The suspicions would not subside, however. Paul's sister Valerie
        > Burke became convinced that authorities were dropping their search
        > because they believed Paul had killed or hidden Gage. So even
        before
        > the county withdrew Sunday evening, she made a public plea for
        > volunteers to take their place.
        > By midmorning Monday, about 150 citizens from across the state
        > were swarming the snow-covered mountains above Coalville. Among
        them
        > was James Wilkes, 35, the husky proprietor of a self-service pet
        wash
        > shop in a Salt Lake City suburb.
        > He brought with him his dog Dino, a giant schnauzer. At the
        base
        > camp, he met a shy muscular man who seemed consumed by pain. Paul
        > Wayment introduced himself, tears welling in his eyes. He could not
        > look at Wilkes.
        > Wilkes plunged into the forest with his dog. It had started to
        > snow, a foot deep in places. Wilkes lost the trail and his
        bearings.
        > It began snowing harder. Guessing at the right direction, he
        started
        > up a mountain. Darkness fell. In time, he and Dino settled under a
        > large sheltering pine tree. There he dug a hole, 2 feet by 4, and
        > climbed in, his body wrapped around his dog. They each kept the
        other
        > warm.
        > It was the longest night Wilkes ever spent. Near 5 a.m., he
        rose
        > and began to walk. Within minutes, Dino's nose went down. The
        > schnauzer darted up a slope to the base of a pine tree. From below,
        > Wilkes could see his dog licking a mound of snow. Then, as he
        > approached, he saw two little feet.
        > By the time Wilkes reached the tree, Dino had cleaned off
        Gage's
        > face. Six inches of snow covered the small body.
        >
        > A Judge's Job: To those who wonder why he takes on the daunting
        > role of judging others, Robert Hilder says: "What am I going to do?
        > Not do this job and instead let someone get up there and decide
        > instead of me? Someone who sees it all in black and white? Some
        come
        > in so sure. They don't see the complexity. I'm 52. What worries me
        is
        > people who can't see the complexity."
        > Watching the Wayment case unfold from afar, it was hard now for
        > anyone to ignore the complexity. They had a body. They also had new
        > suspicions. Some were asking how James Wilkes could have located
        Gage
        > when hundreds of others had failed. Some wondered whether a
        > conspiracy might be the explanation -- a conspiracy between him and
        > Paul Wayment.
        > But the immediate issue -- perhaps the toughest of all -- was
        > what, if anything, to charge.
        > That decision rested with Summit County Attorney Robert Adkins.
        > Like Hilder, his first response to news of a missing boy was as a
        > parent. He knew the rugged terrain up there -- he was a former
        > hunter -- and that gave him concern. Then he saw Brenda on TV,
        > accusing Paul of hiding Gage. He hoped she was right; better that
        > than a lost boy.
        > Adkins could feel Paul Wayment's anguish clear to his bones. In
        > 1989, he had lost his own 8-year-old son in an accident at his
        > grandmother's house. Adkins, who had been at work during the
        > accident, never forgave himself. Something had told him, go home.
        But
        > he had thought, I'll just finish up.
        > Now they had Gage Wayment's body.
        >
        > What Consequences? When Adkins received the sheriff's report,
        he
        > tried to focus on the facts, not the mounting public furor. Wayment
        > drove into the wilderness with Gage dressed lightly in pajamas. He
        > left Gage in a rugged, isolated area, with the pickup parked on a
        > slant, which meant the car door could easily swing open, pulled by
        > gravity. He was gone some unknowable length of time, anywhere from
        30
        > to 90 minutes.
        > Certainly, it was not OK to do what Wayment did. Still, this
        was
        > clearly a good man who had made a horrible mistake. He was a
        straight
        > arrow, in fact, who didn't drink or use drugs. He had no criminal
        > history. Despite the headlines and whispers, Gage's death involved
        no
        > conspiracies.
        > To forgive and empathize, or condemn and punish?
        > Adkins had never forgiven himself for failing to protect his
        own
        > son. Now he had a chance to forgive another father. That was his
        > inclination. Yet there were two other prosecutors in his office's
        > criminal division, and they were of different minds.
        > For days, the three debated around a conference table. At
        times,
        > voices rose. Adkins was most inclined toward leniency, David
        Brickey
        > and Mary-Kathleen Wolsey toward exacting a severe punishment.
        > In the end, Adkins had to make the call himself. Adkins
        > struggled, wavered -- and finally decided they must charge Wayment
        > with something. If they didn't, they would be saying it was OK, or
        at
        > least not criminal, to leave children alone in a remote area.
        > Adkins didn't really want to punish Wayment, though. He chose
        one
        > of the mildest recommendations, negligent homicide, a misdemeanor.
        He
        > also decided he would not seek a jail sentence. Not in this
        > situation, not where the man's son had died.
        > Robert Hilder learned of the prosecutor's choice when a
        detective
        > appeared in his chambers one morning with a document that described
        > the "probable cause" for charging Wayment. Hilder glanced at the
        > pages as the detective stood before him formally swearing to their
        > truth. The judge kept his face blank, not saying or showing
        anything.
        > What he saw distressed him, though.
        > It would have been so much easier if they hadn't charged Paul
        > Wayment. They didn't have to. By filing, the prosecutors had handed
        > their quandary to the judge.
        >
        > The 'Criminal' Charge: There would be no right answer in this
        > matter, he believed. In no way could he make a good decision when
        > this came down. Sentencing would be the hardest. In fact, if Paul
        > Wayment wasn't acquitted, sentencing would be impossible.
        > Judge Hilder first saw Paul Wayment face to face at his
        > arraignment on Jan. 9. Although he showed no emotion, the judge
        knew
        > his pain and shame must be unbearable. He thought Wayment a decent,
        > stoic man.
        > Yet there Paul stood, not just being stoic but pleading not
        > guilty. A guilty plea would not have surprised Hilder, given that
        > Wayment had openly accepted responsibility.
        >
        > Paul Wayment's plea that day reflected something more complex
        > than his attorney's natural reflexes. The plea reflected Wayment's
        > own attitude.
        > From the beginning, Paul and his sister Valerie had talked of
        the
        > consequences he faced. He felt he had to go to jail. He said it
        over
        > and over, as if he wanted to pay a price.
        > Yet Wayment recoiled when the prosecutors finally did file
        > charges. They were calling what he had done "criminal" negligence.
        > Negligence he readily admitted, but he had a hard time with
        criminal.
        > He felt they were saying he intentionally killed Gage. So he was
        > adamant that he wouldn't plead guilty. Valerie sensed that it was
        > somehow important for Paul's sanity that he not see himself as a
        > criminal.
        >
        > Bargaining for a Plea: The fevered public discourse about Paul
        > Wayment reached even into Judge Hilder's bedroom. Because his
        > daughter had changed the station on his alarm clock radio, there
        were
        > two mornings when he awoke to talk show conversations. In both, he
        > heard rabid voices declaring that the death penalty was not a
        > sufficient punishment for this man.
        > Then, in late March, came an evidentiary hearing. Three
        > detectives took the stand, offering detailed accounts of what
        > transpired in the days after Gage went missing. The lawyers
        followed,
        > rising to argue over what photos of Gage and statements by Paul
        could
        > be admitted at trial. Listening, Hilder for the first time gained
        > direct exposure to this distraught father's grief and his ex-wife's
        > suspicions. Nothing he heard persuaded him that this case involved
        > anything more than a tragic mistake.
        > That was not, however, how the Summit County chief criminal
        > prosecutor, David Brickey, saw matters. He saw in Paul Wayment a
        > neglectful father. Brickey had a son himself, a 10-month-old. He
        > couldn't forget Gage, couldn't forget that this little boy had been
        a
        > real person.
        > Like Hilder, Brickey loves stories. What he must do in the
        > courtroom, he believes, is tell the better story. He learned that
        > much when he attended a prosecutors' school in South Carolina.
        There
        > Brickey took a course on child abusers. The class taught him you
        > always want to use any information that suggests the parent isn't a
        > perfect person. He came back to Utah promoting the fact that
        > prosecutors don't use "prior bad acts" nearly enough.
        > In the Wayment case, Brickey believed there were "prior bad
        acts"
        > in Paul's domestic problems. He believed this despite the fact that
        > Adkins saw nothing in the family services file they could use at
        > trial. They were not going to wade into that history, Adkins had
        > resolved. They definitely weren't going to call Brenda's other
        > children to the stand.
        > Adkins hadn't shared that decision with Wayment's attorneys,
        > though. In fact, for bargaining purposes, he had argued in court
        that
        > the family history should be admissible. Brickey took that thought
        > further in his own talks with the defense attorneys. He meant to
        use
        > whatever he could, he told Glen Cook and Julie George. If you don't
        > plea bargain, he warned them, if you go to trial, we will seek to
        > establish that Paul has done this before.
        > Cook and George, unsure where Hilder might land, saw no
        > alternative: If Brickey was going to fling accusations, they would
        > have to respond, they would have to disprove. That meant bringing
        in
        > Brenda, bringing in the kids, bringing in the whole juvenile file.
        > Outrage and frustration consumed Wayment when his lawyers told
        > him what might be coming. "All that stuff isn't true," he
        > shouted. "Just look at the documents. I don't understand why you
        have
        > to disprove anything. I don't want the kids involved. I don't want
        > Brenda involved."
        > While they debated, they heard again from David Brickey. One
        > Friday afternoon, he called Julie George to say he might also
        charge
        > Paul Wayment with witness tampering. Wayment, it turned out, had
        > contacted James Wilkes. He had asked Wilkes if they could try again
        > to visit where Gage died. Wilkes had balked, for he had a lawyer
        now,
        > a lawyer who had ordered him not to talk with Paul, not to fuel
        > suspicions about their connection. They had talked anyway, among
        > other things about the coming trial. Wilkes' lawyer had alerted
        > Brickey. The prosecutor paid Wilkes a visit -- and brought a tape
        > recorder.
        > Clutching her phone, Julie George swore at Brickey, screaming
        and
        > threatening, reminding that Wilkes wasn't even a subpoenaed
        witness.
        > Then she called Wayment. This latest development stunned him. He
        > began to cry.
        > Refusing to plead guilty -- in his mind, refusing to say he
        > intentionally, criminally harmed Gage -- was the strand of sanity
        > Wayment had been clinging to for months. Now he let go, now he
        > conceded.
        > Julie George's phone rang three days later. "I need to take a
        > plea," Wayment told her. "I want it over. I can't take any more."
        >
        > Sentencing Time: When his sentencing hearing began on the
        morning
        > of July 17, Paul Wayment seemed not just stoic but hollow, as if he
        > weren't there. Rising first, Summit County Attorney Robert Adkins
        > talked of how "difficult" this case was, of how much "sympathy and
        > empathy" his office had for the defendant. Then came defense
        attorney
        > Glen Cook, arguing that Paul's "punishment will continue until he
        and
        > Gage are together again." Finally Paul Wayment spoke, in an
        > expressionless monotone:
        > "If I could change places with my son, I would give up my life
        > without question. But I can't. The life that I now live in is the
        > hell that I alone created. The pain is incomprehensible. . . . The
        > word 'sorry' does not even begin to express the feelings I now live
        > with. . . . I admit full responsibility for my actions and will
        > accept whatever punishment you deem appropriate."
        > Soon enough came the horrible moment that Hilder thought such
        > hell. Silence fell in the packed courtroom. As Hilder began to
        speak,
        > Paul Wayment remained impassive while around him his relatives
        > blinked back tears. Paul's sister Valerie Burke thought the judge
        > seemed so soft-spoken, so kind, so determined to explain his
        decision
        > to Paul. She also thought the judge seemed full of heartache.
        > He had planned to give Wayment a 90-day sentence, a quarter of
        > the possible one-year maximum. But after hearing the arguments --
        and
        > seeing that the probation department also opposed jail -- he chose
        to
        > reduce the penalty and require a mental evaluation, followed by
        > counseling if recommended. "The pre-sentence report . . . ," Robert
        > Hilder began, "says that nobody associated with this case believes
        > serving jail time will serve a useful purpose. The problem . . . is
        > that none of these people have to make the decision. The decision
        > comes here. . . . The court understands that there is nothing it
        can
        > do that would be a greater punishment to Mr. Wayment than the
        > suffering he's going to endure daily for the rest of his life. But
        > the court cannot fully accept the argument that there shouldn't be
        > some further consequence. . . . The court rules there must be a
        > consequence."
        > Moments later, Hilder imposed a 30-day jail sentence and
        invited
        > Wayment to pick the date when it would start. Paul and his attorney
        > Glen Cook conferred privately for 90 seconds. Then Cook
        said, "Thank
        > you for the courtesy, judge. Tomorrow morning."
        > George offered to walk Wayment to his car, as she had done
        before
        > to buffer him from reporters. "You don't have to anymore," he said,
        > patting her on the back. "It's over."
        > Robert Hilder did not rise from the bench this morning feeling
        he
        > had made the right decision. He did not walk out thinking, I got it
        > right. He walked out thinking, I did the best I could.
        >
        > No Answers: The questions still haunt about Paul Wayment's final
        > choice, for they can't be answered. Why did neighbors see him
        outside
        > planting flowers just days before? Why had he just gotten a new
        > hunting license, a new truck, a new job? All people know is that
        > Paul, as he left his sentencing hearing, said he was "going to the
        > ridge." No one stopped him, for he always went up the mountain for
        > comfort. Valerie told him, "Phone me when you get home."
        > Around nightfall, she started calling his house. By midnight,
        she
        > was scared. Only in the early morning did she learn he still hadn't
        > returned. Maybe he stayed for sunrise, she told herself. But in her
        > heart, she knew.
        > So did Julie George. "I have my four-wheel drive," she told
        > colleagues at 9:45 a.m. "I'm going to go look for him."
        > They found his body on a sloping ridge next to a pair of
        > binoculars, a Pepsi Big Gulp and a Winchester .243 hunting rifle.
        He
        > had picked a spot, surrounded by quaking aspens, that provided a
        view
        > of the hills where they had searched for Gage. Julie George
        imagined
        > his final afternoon. He had sat with the binoculars, surveying
        where
        > Gage died. At sunset -- he would have waited for his beloved dusk --

        > he had put down the binoculars and picked up the rifle.
        > At the courthouse that afternoon, Hilder sat dazed in his
        > chambers. Tears filled his eyes. He wanted nothing more now than to
        > call his wife, Jan. When he reached her, she offered to come be
        with
        > him. "I don't think that would help," he said. "I have to go on the
        > bench."
        > What consumed him as he walked into the courtroom was his
        > father's suicide. He had never stopped wondering what he could have
        > done. Suicides made their own decisions, he realized. Could he have
        > prevented his death, though? He had left his father's farewell
        letter
        > unclaimed, not wanting to know what it might say.
        > This time, with Wayment, he did want to know. He didn't want to
        > fight off his sense of responsibility.
        >
        > The Judge's Statement: On the witness stand, a water rights
        > expert was testifying in another case. Only occasionally did Hilder
        > listen. Mostly, his eyes were on the legal pad beside his right
        hand.
        > Judges never do such things, but he felt compelled to compose a
        > public statement. He wanted to let people know why he sentenced
        Paul
        > Wayment to jail. Blame me for this, he would tell them. Blame me if
        > you will. But not because I didn't think about it.
        > The first sentence he scratched out. The rest came without
        > struggle or revision.
        > "It is a judge's worst nightmare that his or her actions may
        lead
        > to unforeseen and tragic human consequences. The death of Paul
        > Wayment is such a tragedy. . . . As hard as it is for me to
        > contemplate any contribution of mine to Mr. Wayment's death, his
        > family and the public have a right to know how I feel as a person
        and
        > as a judge. As Paul Wayment's fellow man, I am devastated, I hurt
        > deeply. . . . Having suffered through my father's suicide over 20
        > years ago, I know the survivors' anguish. . . . As a judge,
        however,
        > my sworn duty is to all who appear before me. . . . If the jail
        > sentence I imposed was a factor, large or small, in Mr. Wayment's
        > decision, I regret that result with all my heart, but I cannot
        change
        > my decision. . . . For the rest of my career I will remember Paul
        > Wayment and try to never lose sight of the human consequences as I
        > discharge my responsibilities."
        > Among those besides Robert Hilder whose choices affected Paul
        > Wayment in his final months -- the lawyers, detectives,
        journalists,
        > relatives, hunters and friends -- there is much anguish now. Many
        > berate themselves. Many look to themselves when talking of
        > responsibility.
        > It was Hilder, though, who faced the greatest barrage of
        > criticism immediately after Wayment's death. Where once there were
        > calls for accountability and consequences, now there was outrage at
        > the judge who provided just that. People assailed Hilder, demanding
        > his resignation or dismissal, charging him with "a pathetic lack of
        > wisdom," declaring him "directly responsible for the death of Paul
        > Wayment."
        > Soon enough, there came an even greater wave of support for
        > Hilder from lawyers, pundits, hundreds of citizens and -- over and
        > over -- Wayment's sister Valerie Burke. "I don't believe the 30-day
        > sentence caused Paul to kill himself," she told reporters. "The
        judge
        > was compassionate. Our family understands where the judge was
        coming
        > from, and we don't blame him at all. He had to do what he felt was
        > right."
        > Hilder can only shake his head at that phrase, "what he felt
        was
        > right." He takes comfort from all the support but is no more
        certain
        > now than before of making correct decisions. This latest
        experience,
        > above all, has made him look even harder at the role of the judge.
        > He loves the law but does not worship it. He believes it does
        not
        > have the answer to everything. In matters full of ambiguity, he
        > suggests, there may be no good solution. He says something else as
        > well: "It's not a bad thing to have Paul Wayment's face forever
        part
        > of my life."
        >
        > ...

        yes this happing awhile ago and all you peta eater had a field day
        with it. this is the worst thing i have herd and i think the guy was
        inresposable and should went to jail for it but he felt that his life
        was not worth living and maybe he i right. now he did not do anything
        deffert thing any other inresposable parnt , i herd of people going
        to work and leving tre kids in the car and even go shopping. because
        e ws ahunter dont make hunting wrong. herd of a tree hunger have
        there kid fell out of a tree they was trying to save did you al
        report on this, wwhat about the animal lover that almost had there
        kid moled to death by a white tiger that you all did not want to put
        the tiger to sleep at least thisguy took resposablety for his action
        and kill his self will you do that IMPO if you took a life for being
        stupid he did not blame the world for his action
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