Masonique Saunders didn’t kill her boyfriend, Ohio teen Julius Ervin Tate, Jr. The police did, but she was charged with his killing. There’s a law called “felony murder,” and it allows people to be charged for crimes they didn’t commit. It’s troubling when you look at the details of this case.
Undercover police set up a sting operation targeting Masonique’s boyfriend Julius. They allege he drew a gun, so they shot him.
But eyewitnesses say something entirely different happened and that he didn’t actually have a gun. Masonique said he didn’t have a gun either.
Since she was at the scene, Masonique was CHARGED WITH MURDER thanks to the “felony murder” rule. The New Republic explains “people can be charged with murder if they ‘caused the death of another’ in the course of committing, or intending to commit, a felony.” This is BAD.
Over 40 states have something like this law and in some of them, its punishable by DEATH. Unfortunately, she’s not the first Black teen to be charged this way. This law is great for locking up youth who were in the wrong place at the wrong time like Masonique. She killed no one.
The officer who killed her boyfriend was awarded “SWAT Officer of the Year,” while Masonique sits in prison. This is the world we live in - she’s a teenager! Questions remain around what really happened, but one thing is for sure: “felony murder” laws have to go!