Let’s just say I needed a few million bucks. So me and (my make-believe) husband decide “Hey! Here’s an idea. Let’s kidnap that show-off Exxon executive. Sidney Reso in Morris Township.” (Yes, New Jersey, where else?)
So there’s 57-year-old Sid in his driveway. Probably coffee cup in hand, as he’s about to head off to his fancy office doing whatever important thing he did that made him worth so much money.
This happened in 1992 and the $18.5 million the couple demanded for Reso’s release spurred one of the largest kidnapping investigations in the nation's history.
The couple weren’t particularly good at their attempted crime, and poor rich Reso died in a wooden box, in a shallow grave in the NJ Pine Barrens, his only injury a gunshot to the arm he got in the struggle. Authorities believed Reso died from a heart attack and complications associated with dehydration and the gunshot wound.
Irene Seale, now 63, walked out of prison a few days ago, a free woman. She was sentenced to 20 years for helping her husband. Most of her sentence was served at a federal prison in Connecticut until her transfer in June to a Midwest halfway house.
While Irene Seale's cooperation was rewarded with a relatively lenient term, her husband, Arthur Seale, was sentenced to 95 years for a variety of federal offenses connected with the abduction and a consecutive life term in state prison with 30 years of parole ineligibility for felony murder and kidnapping. He’s in a federal prison in South Carolina, not eligible for parole until 2075. Think he’ll be dead by then.
Her release – and his forever life sentence – have me thinking “How fair is this?”
By all accounts, she went along with her husband’s plan without hesitation. There’s not even any evidence that it was his plan and not her’s. And not that you can believe web comments on newspaper sites – but people in the know certainly blame her as much as – or more than her husband.
She co-operated. That’s the bottom line. She lead police to the shallow grave and pleaded first. That’s all she did. And for it, she walks free, and served time in a half-way house.
The crime was so horrendous. So long ago. But no one in Northern New Jersey ever forgot. Made poor people like me happy to be so not the types anyone would kidnap. It was scary stuff. If a businessman could get grabbed out of his driveway, stuffed into a box, shot and buried. ... How safe is anyone? Better to be poor and anonymous.
A life’s term is 20 years; she got off before that. But really, life should be life. Our system isn’t perfect – the jury only can rule in a fairness that tries to be balanced. But life should be life. No 20 years, or 17. Or time served in a halfway house. She had a hand in killing someone.
Reso’s killers – Irene being one – should not be walking free today.
My heart goes out to the Reso family.
Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000214 EndHTML:0000007012 StartFragment:0000002406 EndFragment:0000006976 SourceURL:file://localhost/Users/cindycapitani/Documents/Blogs/How%20much%20time%20served%20is%20enough.doc