Jury Finds Michigan Man Guilty Who Shot Pro-Life Advocate Over Abortion Signs
by Steven Ertelt
March 12, 2010
Owosso, MI (LifeNews.com) — A jury yesterday found guilty the man who shot pro-life advocate James Pouillon because he was upset with the graphic abortion signs he used when protesting abortion outside a local high school. Harlan Drake killed Pouillon and a local businessman in a separate killing after a family feud.
A Shiawassee County jury convicted Drake on two counts of first-degree murder in the September 2009 shootings.
Jurors rejected claims from defense attorneys that Drake was mentally ill at the time of the killings and should be declared not guilty by reason of insanity.
Drake, 34, faces life in prison without parole as a result of the shootings and each count carries a sentence of life in prison without parole since the state of Michigan does not have the death penalty.
The jury deliberated for four hours before returning their verdicts.
Drake indicated that he had no remorse for the killings, but understood he deserved to be punished for them.
Operation Rescue president Troy Newman, who knew Pouillon, told LifeNews.com that "Justice has been done."
"We are relieved that Mr. Drake’s behavior will not be excused because he had a sad story to tell, and that he will be locked away for the rest of his life," Newman said.
"The pro-life community was stunned by Jim Pouillon’s senseless murder and a lot of us who share Jim’s passion for protecting the innocent became acutely aware of just how fragile life can be," Newman added. "Jim was a kind-hearted man who cared about the injustices of the world and the plight of pre-born babies that die every day at our nation’s abortion clinics. He had the courage to get up and try to do something about that injustice. The world was diminished by Jim’s death and those of us who knew him miss him very much."
Drakes attorney, public defender Robert Ashley, said his client was "prepared to accept either result."
The Flint Journal reported that Shiawassee County Prosecutor Randy Colbry was pleased with the verdict but said nothing can replace the loss the families experienced.
We can’t forget that this is a tragedy for everyone involved, not just for the families of the victims, but the family of Harlan Drake, he said.
Pouillon’s daughter Mary Jo Pouillon was glad the verdict came yesterday, on the six month anniversary of her father’s death.
I just really pray that him and his family will be able to find repentance and forgiveness, she said of Drake.
Judy Climer, president of Flint Right to Life and a friend of James Pouillon, told the Journal that the verdict will help give the Pouillon family closure.
Justice has been served for the unborn babies and the rest of us who have a constitutional right express ourselves, she said.
Prosecutors pointed out that Drake confessed to shooting Pouillon and said he did so because of abortion.
They played a recording of Drake after his arrest admitting to the shootings and saying they came because he didn’t like how Pouillon would hold graphic signs showing the victims of abortions.
According to local news reports, Drake confirmed that he and his mother had a conversion over lunch the day before about not liking Pouillon’s signs.
"Kind of under my breath I said ‘I’ll take care of that tomorrow,’" he said, claiming his nieces saw the signs and had nightmares.
"I did not believe that he should be showing the sign to children, especially at a high school where young girls of impressionable age would see that and either be disgusted or scared," he added.
On the day he shot Pouillon, Drake said he recalled thinking about what was upcoming.
"The only thought I had was that they didn’t have to see that sign again. I was hoping that he wouldn’t be there that morning," — adding "So that I wouldn’t have to shoot him."
After killing Fuoss, a businessman he says treated his family poorly, Drake said he had no reason not to stop.
"I just shot one person. I might as well shoot anybody else that I think might deserve to be shot that day," he said, according to local media reports.
Drake added that he has no remorse about the shootings but admitted he should receive the death penalty for them.
Pouillon was a regular protester at the Feminine Health Care Clinic in Flint, Michigan, operated by abortionist Alberto Hodari.
Since his death, Hodari has placed that abortion clinic up for sale in the wake of a lawsuit filed by Caitlin Bruce who alleges that Hodari forced an abortion on her there even though she had withdrawn her consent after viewing her pre-born baby on ultrasound.
Operation Rescue eventually named Pouillon its pro-life person of the year.
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