Campaign Mailer Draws Criticism

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Editor, The Herald:

I was distressed to receive in the mail this week a mailing from the Marsden Campaign which was critical of the handling and disposition of the Sam McCroskey murder case. Especially in light of Jan Niederbrock's recent letter to the Editor. It is hard enough for those who were closely involved with such a horrific case to move on and respectfully so, not want to ever look back, nor be reminded of this unforgettable day in our community. When I opened my mailbox and saw this political mail out, it made me sick to my stomach. I had an instant flash back of this day, a day I never wanted to remember again, yet here it stared me in my face. For no other reason other than a political ploy for a political gain. I am appalled that anyone would stoop so low, and be so disrespectful to the families of the victims, and to those of Law Enforcement who were involved in this case. I wondered upon what facts the criticism was based. I can only conclude that this is a personal opinion.

Is this what we have to look forward to if Mr. Marsden is elected? Prosecution decisions based on personal feelings rather than an objective review of the evidence in the case by a seasoned prosecutor who has successfully prosecuted over thirty murder cases? The law in Virginia requires the Commonwealth Attorney to consult with the victims of crime before entering into a plea bargain if they request such a consultation. Would Mr. Marsden ignore the wishes of the families for his own political gain? Would he force the families to endure a trial they did not want when life without parole was available without a trial? Would he force them to endure five to eight years of appeals with no closure? Would he risk an error during the trial which could have resulted in a retrial and five to eight more years of appeals or conviction of a lesser charge? There is no such thing as a jury trial without risk. A prosecutor must convince twelve people to put someone to death, the defense only needs to convince one juror not to, thereby leaving Mr. McCroskey with the same sentence in which he has received.

In a move that is typical of a “politician”, the Marsden campaign has gone negative at the last minute in an effort to limit the time for people to get the real facts.

I believe Mr. Marsden is without the experience, knowledge or judgment that is necessary to be Commonwealth Attorney. Ambition does not substitute for qualification.

I have worked with Jim Ennis for twenty years. He is a professional. He is dedicated to the safety of the public and the future of our children and has done more to assist law enforcement in the war on drugs than the public will ever know.

Shame on you. The citizens of Prince Edward County deserve better than cheap political tricks. They deserve to have a professional Commonwealth Attorney who knows the law and has the wisdom, gained from experience, to do the right thing when called upon to make the tough decisions. We have been fortunate to have Jim Ennis as our Commonwealth Attorney for the past twenty years and let's hope we have him for four more. Please join me November 8 and vote Jim Ennis for Commonwealth Attorney. He is the protection against criminals the citizens of Prince Edward County and our children deserve.

Andy Ellington


(Editor's note: the mailer states that it was “Paid for and Authorized by Friends of John Marsden”).