I write here about a personal event, but also one that happened 31 years ago, so time has healed most of the wound. The event was as follows: A man broke into our house and raped our eight-year-old daughter on March 20, 1987. I was asleep in the basement, my then-wife asleep on the couch after having watched March Madness (she followed Notre Dame).
Police were unable to solve the crime, and because of its gruesome nature, had to provide the public with a perpetrator. They settled on a young man, Jimmy Ray Bromgard, and lacking any evidence, forged hair samples and provided an “expert”witness who said those hairs were Jim’s. The kid spent fifteen years in prison. In 2002 the Innocence Project set him free, and because the State of Montana was fraudulent in its case against him, he received a $3.5 million settlement. I imagine he got some of that. I hope he did.
In 2015 the real perpetrator was uncovered, Ronald Dwight Tipton, whose family name appears in the 1988 Billings, Montana phone book as living one block from our home. Why did he choose our daughter? That’s a family matter. I understand it now, though I did not before this year. However, Tipton will walk free now, as the statute has run.
I understand irony. It is a thing quite apart from humor. It cuts deep. Our “justice” system first imprisoned an innocent man. No one cared that Jim Bromgard was innocent. They “solved” the crime. The system worked. The lead detective on the crime landed a nice FBI position!
They have now let the guilty man go free. It cuts no deeper than that.