Silva case illustrates familiar refrain: Crime doesn’t pay

Granted, finding a job is tough these days, and holding one down is never easy.

There’s the whole repetition thing. You have to show up day in, day out, week in, week out, if you want to collect a paycheck. There’s the possibility the boss might be surly or incompetent or both. And there almost certainly will be times when you feel overworked and underpaid.

Still, a familiar refrain in courthouse hallways rings true. Isn’t working for a living easier than a life of crime?

Attorney Chester Fairlie, coordinator of the local Survivors of Homicide support group, said he wonders why Gary Clarke and Cosmo Frieson, desperate for rent money for a relative, decided to rob New London package store owner Jared Silva five years ago instead of looking for work. When we spoke on the phone after Frieson’s sentencing in Superior Court last week, Fairlie suggested Clarke and Frieson could have gone to an organization like Labor Ready to earn some fast cash.

Their decision in October 2007 to rob a small businessman of the day’s take from his neighborhood package store cost Silva his life and ruined countless others.

Clarke and Frieson’s sister, Laquesha, had a daughter together and lived in a Buchanan Road apartment. The sister could not pay the rent and was about to be evicted, so the two men, who were like brothers, headed out with a gun. Silva resisted, the gun went off, and the beloved businessman lay dead in front of his liquor store on Ocean Avenue.

Silva’s family members are still grieving. Clarke and Frieson are serving lengthy prison sentences. Frieson’s sister left her daughter with Clarke’s mother and moved out of the area.

Fairlie makes a good point. Wouldn’t it have been easier to get a job?

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Often, imperfect justice is the best we can do

The sentence is too long. The sentence is too lenient. The settlement is excessive. The courts are a joke.

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