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Working to Free A Killer Susan McLaughlin Doesn’t Deserve to be Released
The Exeter News-Letter (Column in print version only) ^ | 12/17/2002 | Ken Goodall

Posted on 12/22/2002 6:57:08 AM PST by Bowana

Working to Free A Killer
Susan McLaughlin Doesn’t Deserve to be Released

There are two NH women working to free a convicted killer. Susan "Sam" Cook McLaughlin was found guilty of being an accessory to murder and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. It seems that these women feel that McLaughlin has paid her debt to society and now deserves to be free.

One of the women, Cilla Clements, a school teacher and writer from Raymond NH who met McLaughlin while working on a story about imprisoned women, feels that "She's paid her debt, and she's turned her whole life around,"

What other choice did Susan McLaughlin have while sitting in prison? It's not hard to see the error of one's ways while living in a jail cell. That's the point of prison, isn't it? So now that McLaughlin has been a good little girl for 14 years in prison, should she now be set free? What about the wife and children of Robert Cushing, the victim in this heinous crime? It's been 14 years for them with out their husband and father, and he will never come back. Why should McLaughlin get off so easy?

In my opinion, McLaughlin did get off easy. As complicit as she was in this crime, I would not have a problem with capital punishment in this case. Luckily for her, a very active opponent to the death penalty in NH just happens to be Renny Cushing. Renny is the late Robert Cushing's son and he has served as the director of Murder Victim's Families for Reconciliation and lobbied against the death penalty in NH.

I would not be as forgiving as Renny Cushing. I am sure that he was satisfied with the life sentence with out the possibility of parole, but I would like to think that he could not and would not support the release of one of the murderers of his father.

Susan McLaughlin and her husband Robert McLaughlin, an 18-year veteran of the Hampton Police Department, conspired to kill their neighbor Robert Cushing in 1988. Not only did she drive the getaway car, but also she stood and watched while her husband fired two rounds from a shotgun into Mr. Cushing's chest. According to prosecutors, their plan was so elaborate that they used disguises and brought more than one weapon with them to commit the crime.

It is beyond me how anyone can feel that a person who conspired to kill another human being could possibly pay off his or her debt to society. Susan McLaughlin not only drove her husband to the victim's home, but she witnessed the brutal and merciless crime first hand.

The other woman working to free McLaughin is Julie Normand, a Goffstown NH resident. "I feel she’s guilty of all the charges against her, but there are extenuating circumstances," according to Normand.

What kind of "extenuating circumstances" could possibly exonerate someone who assisted and witnessed the brutal slaying of another human being?

The women even have a letter from a forensic psychologist who says that Cook may have suffered from Stockholm Syndrome at the time of the murder. Stockholm Syndrome is named after the city where hostages felt some allegiance toward their kidnappers and didn’t want to testify against them.

I can accept this as a reason why an abused person may not report the abuser to the police. I can even understand how this may lead the victim to avoid testifying against their abuser, but when the abuser turns their violence against another, that is where this Stockholm Syndrome excuse loses all credibility.

I knew a man who ran a sporting goods store in Pittsburg, NH, and this man would give you the shirt off his back. After misjudging the weather, my group was faced with camping in sub-zero temperatures, and this man offered us a heater for free just to be sure that we were OK. We had cold weather bags and extra clothes, so we didn’t take him up on the offer.

I had heard stories about his drinking and that he may have been a mean drunk. I wrote it off as small town talk. A few years ago he started after his wife, who I also know, and she shot him. She was found to be acting in self-defense. The Stockholm Syndrome may explain how this woman stayed with this man, but obviously a line was crossed.

Susan McLaughlin crossed a similar line when she stood by during the murder of Robert Cushing. There are no syndromes, there are no extenuating circumstances; there is only a murder. A murder of which, Susan McLaughlin was an accessory. That is my side of the story.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; US: New Hampshire
KEYWORDS: cushing; death; mclaughlin; murder; nh; penalty

1 posted on 12/22/2002 6:57:08 AM PST by Bowana
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To: Bowana
There is a simple way to resolve this issue. When Robert Cushing, the victim, gives this murderer a sworn statement that he's forgiven her, then she should be set free...

What's the problem?

As commedienne, Paula Poundstone once said, "Sirhan Sirhan was up for parole, and he told the parole board, 'If Robert Kennedy were alive today, he'd testify before you that I should be set free.' Isn't that just the worst luck? The one guy that would testify on his behalf, and he shoots him!"

2 posted on 12/22/2002 7:28:34 AM PST by MarkL
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To: Bowana
...she stood and watched while her husband fired two rounds from a shotgun into Mr. Cushing's chest.

I'd permanently mount a loaded shotgun pointing into McLaughlin's cell and every once in a while have it click.

3 posted on 12/22/2002 7:52:28 AM PST by jigsaw
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