Claiming obesity won’t get you out of murder

Claiming obesity wont get you out of murder

Obesity prohibits you from doing a lot of things. According to the Trust for America’s Health, adult obesity rates increased in 23 states and did not decrease in a single state during the past year. Most would consider such a condition to be detrimental. However, maybe it can be used in your favor.

A jury in New Jersey convicted Edward Ates of murdering his former son-in-law after rejecting his not-so-convincing defense that he was simply “too fat” to have run up and down a flight of stairs to commit the crime and make a quiet exit.

Maybe this story is not imperative to society and maybe it’s not vital to our justice system – but that doesn’t mean it’s not comically noteworthy.

Ates was ultimately found guilty of murder and weapons counts for killing Paul Duncsak, who was shot six times at his home about 25 miles northwest of New York City in Ramsey, N.J.. Luckily, Ates’ “too fat” defense wasn’t hefty enough (pun intended) to sway the jury’s conviction, although it did draw a lot of media attention.

At 5-foot-8-inches, 285 pounds and 62 years old, Ates maintained that he could not have had sufficient energy to accurately shoot Duncsak from a perch on a staircase at Duncsak’s home.

Since when does fatness determine precision?

Prosecutors presented the jury with evidence to show that Ates bought books explaining how to build a gun silencer, did Internet searches on how to pick locks and how to commit the perfect murder.

Not enough evidence? Prosecutors continued with a videotaped testimony of Ates’ sister in which she admitted to lying to authorities per his request about when he arrived in Louisiana after driving 21 hours to flee the murder scene. Apparently the only defense left was putting the blame on his physical misfortune.

Whether you are fat, skinny, tall, short, bucktoothed, freckled or Botoxed – all are physically capable of pulling a trigger. Although pulling the sympathy card could have been a beneficial last resort, apologies are difficult to award to those with self-obtained impairment.

Ates’ doctor claimed that bounding up and down the stairs would have caused Ates to become short of breath and involuntary shaking would have made it difficult to steady his wrist and accurately fire a gun from a distance.

An intent to kill is an intent to kill. Physical characteristics, unless physically disabling such as missing limbs or impaired eyesight, should never be convincingly used as protection against criminal activity. The same should be implied toward the fame and wealth of the accused, but that may always be a losing battle.

Doughnuts and buffalo wings may save you from the gym memberships, but not conviction of murder.

Kerri Feczko is a sophomore broadcast journalism and political science major from Flower Mound.