Chelsea King’s family choose not to sue the state
The parents of slain Poway High School senior Chelsea King announced Friday that they will not sue the state of California over their daughter's rape and murder last year at the hands of a parole-violating sex offender.
The reasoning behind the surprising decision indicates just how much pain the King family continues to go through. As the first anniversary of Chelsea King's murder approaches, Kelly and Brent King are back for a visit from their new home in Illinois.
They are gracious with the media but the pain of their loss is evident and it has led them to a decision that not many others would make given the circumstances.
“In short we have decided not to pursue any legal action against the state,” said the Kings at a press conference Friday.
The money, say Chelsea's father and mother, would only serve as a reminder of pain and tragedy and “that's exactly what we're trying to get away from, is pain and tragedy.”
The Kings also asked themselves a number of questions if the suit were successful. What changes would that bring to the state? How would that fix the parole problem, and thirdly, how many children would directly benefit?
The decision couldn't have been easy. In cases such as this the common reaction is to want to hold someone accountable.
After all, Chelsea's killer, John Gardner, was still on the streets even though the convicted sex offender had repeatedly violated his parole. California's inspector general acknowledged mistakes in the system, but instead, the Kings will spend their time and energy on the Chelsea's Light Foundation and making sure Chelsea's Law, continues to actively monitor the law's implementation.
The Kings and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher say they are committed to making sure Chelsea's Law is followed, which is proving not the easiest thing to do given the state's bureaucracy.
One of the biggest obstacles is the one strike law. You violently sexually assault a child, you go to jail for the rest of your life, but many offenders don't rise to that level, constitutionally, you can't keep them in jail forever. That's why it is important to implement Chelsea's Law and make sure the parole system is properly tracking these predators, violent or not.
Gardner is serving a life sentence in prison because he also murdered teenager Amber Dubois.
Amber's father, Maurice told KUSI's Ed Lenderman Friday that he's not going to sue the state either. He too is pursuing changes with the system.