Self-defense tactic would have been a farce; media swing-set fetish just plain weird

  • Nebraska Legislature bears responsibility for murder.
  • News media swing-set fetish was farcical, too.
  • Registry must be abolished.

The weird news media fetish with the swing set was one of the most bizarre aspects of this bizarre case.

James Fairbanks plotted and then carried out the murder in Omaha of Mattieo Condoluci in May 2020. (Fairbanks took a plea agreement instead of going to trial).

The Omaha World-Herald and other local news media, in stories about the murder, became obsessed with the fact that Condoluci had a swing set in his backyard. They assumed, as did his killer, that the swing set was “bait” for neighborhood kids.

Well, it turns out that the swing set was there for Condoluci’s grandchild. That’s right — the guy was just being a good grandfather. But he was forced to register after he paid for his offense, and that is why Fairbanks entered Condoluci’s home and shot him dead.

The backyard swing set made its way into story after story after story, as if to say, “Well, he deserved to die. He had a swing set in his backyard.”

Fairbanks considered trying to get off by claiming self-defense, a tactic the prosecutor called comical. We would call it farcical. You come through the door of someone’s home with a gun and of course the home’s occupant will try to protect himself. You can’t claim self-defense when you obviously intended to kill your victim.

Not only did Fairbanks go to Mr. Condoluci’s house with a shotgun, but he had researched the legal consequences of the murder he intended to commit. More frightening yet was the fact that he’d also mapped out a path to the home of another person forced by the state to register.  

Fairbanks’ children have lost their father. Fairbanks was unable to express remorse. He was asked how he felt about the fact that he abandoned his own children when he decided to commit murder. All he could muster was something about having a lot of regrets.

Condoluci’s grandson, for whom the swing set was intended, lost his good grandfather.

Three kids harmed because the Nebraska Legislature will not take down the useless and damaging registry.

That’s right — the Nebraska Legislature bears responsibility for this murder.

There’s a great post on this topic over at Notes from the Handbasket.

Here’s a key excerpt:

‘Nebraska legislators carry a large share of the blame for Condoluci’s murder because the Legislature is the body that put the registry in place. In 2009, they voted to make names, faces, and addresses easily available to the public–easily available to someone like Fairbanks who wants to hunt for registrants.

‘The killing of Mattieo Condoluci made it abundantly clear that registrants have been telling the truth: the registry puts registrants and their families at risk.

‘Does the Legislature regret making it easy for Fairbanks to target his victim? 

‘Given their lack of action in the 2021 legislative session to mitigate the effects of the registry, the answer seems to be clear.

‘As clear as Fairbanks’ lack of remorse.’

Published by nufearless

Nebraskans Unafraid is committed to making our communities safer by ensuring that lawmakers and policymakers do not support laws that cause homelessness, joblessness and damage to families.

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