Saturday, July 23, 2011

And Justice for SOLVE: Chicago man convicted in street artist's murder

Word came this morning that 27-year-old Kirk Tobolski was convicted by a judge in Chicago of second degree murder in the case of the death of street artist Brendan "SOLVE" Scanlon.

The now 37-month-old case regarding the 2008 murder will go into "post-trial" motions and sentencing may happen as soon as September 1, or, depending on how things go, much later.

A statement released by the Scanlon family reads as follows:
We are dismayed that today Cook County Associate Judge Thomas Hennelly, who has presided for the last two and a half years over the case against Brendan Scanlon's murderer, found the murderer guilty of only second degree murder. In our view, on the facts and the law, it was clear that the murderer committed first degree murder.

Nonetheless, with today's verdict, more than three long years afterward, we have some measure of justice for the murder of Brendan, our son, brother, uncle, and friend, and the intensely creative, prolific and provocative artist known to many across the world as SOLVE.

For this measure of justice, we want to thank a number of people:

-- Chicago police officers for their quick, careful and brilliant work in dealing with the crime and gathering within less than a day afterward evidence important for the conviction.

-- The seven witnesses at the trial for providing testimony to establish the defendant's guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.

-- Our Cook County victim assistance coordinator for guiding us gently over most of the past three years through the tortuous criminal justice process in Cook County involving serious crimes.

-- The Cook County assistant state's attorneys, who handled the case, for their careful and masterful prosecution and completely honest appraisals for us of what was happening as the case proceeded ever so slowly.

As Brendan's immediate family, we also must thank all those who have supported us through this long, tortuous and painful process, including our large extended family; our neighbors, friends and colleagues in Madison and across the US; Brendan's classmates, teachers, friends, colleagues and artistic collaborators; and people around the world who have responded to Brendan's message to reasonably and peaceably SOLVE their problems.

Finally, we want to say that for us today is not a happy day.

Though Brendan and we received some measure of justice with today's verdict, the verdict will not bring him back to us, others who knew him and loved him, or the world. The profound emptiness of Brendan's absence, the profound evil of his having been taken much too early, are not salved by the verdict.

And the murderer will now spend - and justly so - a large portion of the rest of his life incarcerated. This is appropriate and just, because of what he did and his apparent failure to take any responsibility for having done it. But it is also tragic, not a cause for happiness.

Read an article on the conviction from here. My continued condolences to the family, and my hope that the overwhelming, worldwide outpouring of support in memory of their son brings some small measure of comfort.

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