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Because of brutal crimes such as this, there is a federal statute that states that carjackings that lead to kidnapping and murder are crimes punishable under federal law. Because Rhode Island does not have the death penalty, Jason and Amy's families and friends fought for the case to become federal so their killers could possibly face death.
The case was brought to federal court, and four of the five men, including the shooter, have pleaded guilty in exchange for their lives. The government decided not to pursue the death penalty for the fifth man, who subsequently had his federal charges dropped. The state will now hear his case.
We knew all along the just because the case was brought to federal court, that did not mean they would receive the death penalty. We also fought for this to become a federal case because if we allowed this case to be tried only by the state, then these five cold-blooded killers would have gone to the Rhode Island state prison where they could have hung out with all of their buddies, received care packages, and gotten visits from their family. Also, each and every day that the Shute family and friends (in RI) went to work, their tax dollars would have payed for these five men to eat, sleep, and be cared for.
Now that the federal charges have been dropped for one of the men, we pray he will at least have to spend the rest of his life in the Rhode Island State Prison (despite the fact that we worked so hard to keep him out of the state prison). . . but it may be a long time before we find out.
Last updated on March 20, 2002