North Augusta, SC — At around 7:30 p.m. last Saturday evening, Aiken County Sheriff’s Deputy and former Marine, Matthew Blakley shot and killed his 24-year-old wife, Candace in their North Augusta home. Blakley admitted to having done it, but claimed it was an accident.
Sunday afternoon—less than a day after the killing—Blakley was released on bond. The day after that, less than two days after admittedly shooting his wife to death, authorities declared that the deputy will NOT be charged with first or second-degree murder, but “involuntary manslaughter.” Even if convicted, Deputy Blakley may not receive any prison time at all, and cannot be sentenced to more than five years. Under South Carolina state law, the distinction between murder and manslaughter hinges upon whether there was “malice aforethought” which constitutes murder, as opposed to criminal negligence, which constitutes manslaughter.
The following facts are undisputed:
- When Blakley exited his house, blood on his hands, he admitted to shooting his wife.
- The coroner ruled that she died from a bullet wound to the head.
- She was found dead in her bathtub.
- Also found in the bathroom, on the floor, were a broken wedding ring, an M4 rifle, and a spent shell casing.
- A second man, who has not been publicly named, was also on the scene, also had blood on his hands, and claimed to have attempted CPR on the victim without success.
In less than two days, the decision was made not to charge the confessed killer with murder.
According to WRDW,
Matthew Blakley joined the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office in November as a Road Deputy, he was still in the academy. But in those seven months, he’s already been suspended and put on probation. His personnel file shows an incident in April where Blakley pulled out his gun while horse playing with another deputy.
The double-standard could hardly be any more blatant. Given the facts, it would be absolutely absurd to pretend that Blakley did not receive preferential treatment due to being a police officer. In short, he was literally allowed to get away with murder because he wore a badge. Blakey was, however, fired after he was charged, with Aiken county Sheriff Michael Hunt calling the event “a very unfortunate and tragic incident for both families involved.”
This is not an isolated incident. Last year, Joseph Miller, a Pennsylvania State Trooper, shot and killed his pregnant wife. He put a bullet right through her head, claiming it was an accident that took place while he was cleaning his gun. Not only was he not charged with any crime, he is still an armed and dangerous member of the police department.
If you, or someone you know—someone who does NOT wear a badge, that is—was found in those circumstances, do you think for a moment that there would be no investigation? That the powers that be, in less than 48 hours, would proclaim that you would NOT be charged with murder? That you could confess to shooting your spouse to death, and be walking free the next day?
There is a frightening lesson to be learned from these tragic stories. Apparently, if one commits outright premeditated murder but wears a badge, all they need to do to get off scot-free is to say that it was an accident. It doesn’t matter how suspicious the circumstances were or how damning the evidence.
In light of the rate at which police literally get away with murder, is it really any wonder why an increasing number of Americans distrust, resent or even hate cops?