Daker was found guilty last week of the 1995 murder of Karmen Smith and the repeated but nonfatal stabbings of her son, Nick Smith, was but 5 years old at the time. The jury needed just 3½ hours of deliberations to find Daker guilty on all counts.
They earlier had sat through testimony about some of the books found in Daker’s possession by investigators in 2010, which included “Hitman: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors,” “Kill Without Joy: The Complete How-to-Kill Book” as well as “Secrets of Locksmithing.” They also found leather whips, padlocks and an al-Qaida training manual. Just an all-around nice guy, that Mr. Daker.
Daker had already served a decade in prison for the stalking of Ms. Smith’s upstairs neighbor, and had been released in 2006.
Lead prosecutor Jesse Evans told the court at the sentencing hearing that Daker should get the maximum possible sentence (life, plus 47 and a half years), partly because of his future dangerousness.
Staley agreed, and gave Daker the max.
“Oct. 23, 1995 was an evil day because of an evil man acting on evil instincts,” she said.
“I think you’re dangerous in prison, and I think, given the chance, you would do untold evil. I see that as what you are. I hope you never leave prison. Ever. That would be just.”
Then, when Daker refused to sign the sentencing papers in court, Staley continued.
“That’s typical of a coward. That’s what you are: A coward.”
Daker had been allowed to act as his own attorney during the trial (which brings to mind the old adage that “any attorney who tries to represent himself has a fool for a client”). And Staley on Monday also said that Daker had “manipulated and abused” his court-appointed counsel earlier and she directed the circuit defender’s office to take whatever steps are necessary to recover the attorney fees that taxpayers had spent on his defense. The defender’s office had spent about $36,000 on Daker’s defense through June.
In an era when criminals often seem to get the benefit of every doubt from the court system and victims’ rights are given lip service; and when perpetrators of even the most heinous of crimes file appeal after appeal to stave off their execution for decades; and when bleeding heart judges and juries too often fall for accused killers’ sob stories about the alleged circumstances of their upbringing; it is refreshing to see a local jury and judge so willing to mete out justice for the killing of Smith and the stabbing of her young son.
We only wish there were more in this country like them.