"You took the coward's way out, you piece of crap. You deserved to live your HELL out on earth."
That was the first comment I read on a story about Ryan Brunn's apparent suicide yesterday. Other comments soon followed, most in a similar vein - Brunn, in killing himself - got off easy. Other commenters echoed Jorelys' mom, Jocelyn, who said, "This is the kind of justice that I was expecting for him for all the damage that he made to my little daughter. Now, I can say that I feel satisfied.”
And others weren't suitable for reprint.
I have to confess that I had forgotten all about Ryan Brunn and Jorelys Rivera, mainly because I expected the case to drag on the way those types of cases typically do; so when I read the story of his suicide (thinking he'd done it as a way to avoid prosecution) I was stunned to learned that he'd confessed and entered a guilty plea.
I followed a link to the Patch story on his plea bargain. I wanted to throw up in my mouth.
"Please," Jorelys apparently said to him, "I just want to go home."
Then he slit her throat and left her for dead. When that didn't kill her, he beat her with the same roller skate he'd used to lure her into the vacant apartment where she died.
Brunn then put her in a trash bag, along with some other evidence, put the bag on the back of his maintainence cart and deposited it into the trash compactor. Then he turned the compactor on.
You know the rest.
Brunn entered the guilty plea in exchange for life without possibility of parole or release. He stood in front of a courtroom full of family (both his and Jorelys') and recounted the whole sordid story. He looked Jocelyn Rivera in the eyes and apologized.
Then, a day or so later, he took his own life.
It certainly seems like the coward's way out. With nothing to look forward to other than a life in prison with other inmates who usually don't treat child molestors/killers very kindly, suicide by cell seems the lesser of two evils. I suppose you could also try and make him out to be a semi-tragic hero - a young man with a dark past who committed an atrocious crime and, in the ultimate act of atonement, took his own life as a way of showing the family of the victim that his judgment of himself was harsher than our court of law.
You could try that.
But you'd be stretching things.
The reality is we don't know why Brunn did what he did in that cell anymore than we can know why he did what he did in that apartment. If he truly were a deviant person, then do we really want to know what he was thinking? Do we really want to look that deeply into the heart of a monster?
I say yes.
It's telling that even in Brunn's death a great many people are unsatisfied still. They got the ends they longed for, but the means left them cold. All it tells me is that in a case like this, there's no justice we can mete that is true enough. At the end of the day, Brunn's death doesn't reverse what happened to Jorelys. We are still left with the why? and no hope for answers. Brunn's suicide has denied us even that much.
Which makes his a coward's death indeed.