CATS OR KIDS! Which is more valuable, the life of a cat or the life of a human being?

In the very sublime kind of insanity known only to occur in American courtrooms, the killing of cats seems to merit harsher punishment than the killing of a child.

Wisconsin Circuit Judge Richard Werner sentenced Barry Herbeck to 12 years in prison for beating five cats to death. The sentence was three times as long as prosecutors requested. Herbeck told investigators that he killed the cats to relieve anger built up from being abused as a child. 200 animal rights activists present at the trial cheered the sentence.

Latrena Pixley committed a much lesser crime than killing an animal. In 1992 Pixley smothered her six week-old daughter to death. A judge in the District of Columbia gave Pixley a suspended sentence and placed her on probation. Pixley would not have served any time at all for the infanticide except for the fact that she later committed credit-card fraud, violating the terms of her probation. In effect, she served no time for murder but did serve some time for the credit-card offense.

Despite the fact that Pixley admitted killing her daughter and dumping the body in the trash, she recently won custody of another one of her children. The two year-old boy, one of four children Pixley had by the age of 23, will be turned over to the child-killer on September first. A Maryland police officer had been taking care of the boy, and filed to adopt him. Officer Laura Blankman argued, not unreasonably, that a mother who kills one child is unfit to raise others. The court disagreed, arguing that two year-old Cornilous was best off living with the person who had killer his sister.

Like Pixley, Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson committed infanticide. Unlike Pixley, they will serve some time for their crime, although not nearly so long as cat-killer Herbeck. The young unmarried couple beat their baby to death and dumped the body in a motel dumpster. Delaware Superior Court Judge Henry duPont Ridgely sentenced mother Grossberg to two and a half years in prison. The father, Peterson, was sentenced to two years.

In a recent Outrage we told you the story of Susan Cummings, the heiress who shot her lover to death in cold blood. Since her lover, Argentinean polo player Roberto Villegas, was neither a cat nor a kid, Cummings was slapped on the wrist. She was sentenced to sixty days in the county jail, and fined $2,500. She was recently released from jail after serving 51 days; she got nine days off for "good behavior". (Apparently she didn't kill any cats while serving time.)

Let's see;
- One of Latrena Pixley's daughters is dead; Pixley is at liberty and is about to get custody of her son.

- The child of Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson is dead; they'll each serve a couple years in prison.

- Susan Cummings' lover is dead; Cummings is free and rich.

Three cases, three brutal murders of human beings. Combined sentence: about four and half years.

On the other hand, five cats are dead; Barry Herbeck will serve twelve years in prison.

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