Jan 25, 2008

Melissa Arrington, Remorseless Drunken Killer

Melissa Arrington, 27, who killed bicyclist Paul L'Ecuyer in 2006 in a drunk driving accidentLeft: Melissa Arrington; photo courtesy of Pima County Attorney's Office

Melissa Arrington swerved from the road twice when she was driving drunk just before she struck and killed Tuscon bicyclist Paul L'Ecuyer in December 2006. She was driving despite having a suspended driver's license from a previous DUI.

Now, these facts in and of themselves are not especially newsworthy in an era when drunk driving fatalities are everyday events. 17,602 fatalities occurred in 2006 in alcohol-related crashes. Between 1983 and 2006, more than 210,000 people have died in crashes involving what the NTSB calls "hard core drinking drivers."

Melissa Arrington, though, is a particularly reprehensible drunken killer, as she was taped by jailers in a conversation with a friend in which she laughed at the victim. You can listen to excerpts of the taped jailhouse phone call at this link.

The man with whom Arrington spoke, in a bizarre attempt to cheer up the incarcerated woman, made light of the fatal accident that took the life of L'Ecuyer:
John says as far as he's concerned, you did the world a favor. Because you took out a f***ing tree hugger, a bicyclist, a Frenchman and a gay guy all in one shot. He's proud of you. He says as far as he's concerned, they should give you a medal and a f***ing parade.
On the audio recording, Arrington can be heard laughing at the comments. She later acknowledged that admitted that she is "not supposed to be laughing at stuff like that,'' but then chuckles and tells the caller that "I would have to agree with that."

Absolutely chilling.

The jury in the case acquitted Arrington of manslaughter, the most serious charge against her, and convicted her instead of negligent homicide. The audiotape was not allowed as evidence in the proceedings until the sentencing phase.

If there can be any positive news in this sordid tale, it would be the actions of Pima County Superior Court Judge Michael R. Cruikshank. The judge told Arrington that the phone call was "breathtaking in it's inhumanity," and Cruikshank sentenced her to a maximum sentence of 10-and-a-half years in prison, where she will not be likely to need travel insurance.

In an essay like this, I typically close with a condemnatory passage or two about the profiled idiot. In Arrington's case, though, her own words and behavior say more than I ever could about her utter lack of human decency.


Anonymous said...

u dont know missy and who the fuck are you to judge????? thats not the real melissa and i know her to be a real caring person who got caught up in something horrible

Anonymous said...

The real Missy killed someone then made fun of it. She deserves even more time. Anyone know who "Little Joe" and Missy's neighbor is? I think I found me some swine to hunt.

Mad Jack said...

I think the phone conversation is gallows humor and nothing more. I wouldn't consider it during sentencing. I wouldn't consider the criminals expressed remorse, or lack of it, during sentencing either. What I think should be considered are the circumstances of the crime.

What bothers me about this case is that the crime was committed on December 1, 2006 and the case didn't go to trial until November of 2007, almost a year later. Now we're finally getting around to sentencing? Far too much time has elapsed to provide for the constitutionally required speedy trial. The entire process should have been over and done with in two weeks.

I don't need a phone conversation to convince me that this woman has little to no sense of empathy about her. Ten years in jail won't fix that, but it may give her cause to reconsider driving drunk next time, and I believe there will be a 'next time'. People like that just won't quit.

Melissa Arrington didn't deserve the privilege of driving to begin with. Clearly, she is not a reliable, responsible person and so should not be allowed to drive anywhere. That being the case, please note that all the laws, all the law enforcement personnel and all the special interest groups did not prevent Melissa from driving. Until the State government decides to provide a real solution to poor driving, we'll be stuck sharing the road with callous, erratic drivers like Melissa Arrington.

Anonymous said...

RE: "u dont know missy and who the fuck are you to judge????? thats not the real melissa and i know her to be a real caring person who got caught up in something horrible."

And I suppose that Adolf Hitler & Joseph Stalin were the greatest humanitarians that ever lived (YEAH, RIGHT)!!

Robin said...

Too bad the judge couldn't order her to use a bike as her only transportation.

And what is up with these cussing people who come in here to "stick up" for their drunken friends? A real caring person wouldn't be a freaking repeat drunk driver.

A recent grad said...

"thats not the real melissa and i know her to be a real caring person who got caught up in something horrible"

Who got caught up in something horrible? Like killing someone and then laughing about it?

Anonymous said...

Her "friend" made matters worse for her. She did not say all those bad things, but just laughed/agreed at the comments the guy who called her made. She obviously has low self esteem (stripper, bad marriage with children) and just went along with the conversation. The "friend" that called her should also be punished. She is paying a hefty price because of this jerk who is probably laughing with his buddies about making matters worse for her. Melissa is just stupid, her friend is evil.