The last time I saw Marcos F., he threatened to kill me with his bare hands. At the time, it seemed like an empty threat because he was wearing handcuffs and on his way from a Brooklyn courtroom to serve a 10 year prison sentence. I was a prosecutor at the time and had just convicted him of Robbery. His third violent felony in 6 years. I confess to feeling bad for the guy. His most recent robbery consisted of hitting his girlfriend with a stapler while forcibly removing the engagement ring he had given her the day before. Apparently, she had invited Marcos’ stepfather to the engagement party and, while there was plenty of malt liquor, there were no other guests.
Marcos caused no injury and he got the ring by redeeming Marlboro box-tops, but his first two felonies were far less, um, vaudevillian; this was Marcos’ third strike.
During the course of the trial, I offered Marcos a deal – plea to a misdemeanor and serve one year in prison. He suggested that I self-procreate. One week later, it took the jury two hours to hand Marcos his third conviction. Once the jury was excused, Marcos demanded the same deal he had previously rejected. When I turned him down, he promised vengeance.
I mention this because Marcos was released from prison last month; his term had been extended because he did not play nicely with his cell-mates. I kept track of him over the years – – not because I take his threat seriously but because I never forgot the look on his face during his sentencing. He turned to me and shrugged, as if to say, “Oh well. What did you expect from me?” And he is right. Marcos began his prison career when he was 14. He is now 35 and has a teenage son whom, I presume, he has never met.
It is sad. Not because he got what he deserved, but because maybe he deserved a little better.