He Shook His Baby, 20 Years Later the Baby Dies, He Goes to Jail for Murder....???

Mike Wells, file photo.

Mike Wells: pleaded no contest to Second Degree Murder charges of his daughter Christina.
Mike Wells: pleaded no contest to Second Degree Murder charges of his daughter Christina.

FLORIDA: In 1987, Nineteen year old Mike Wells found himself the father of two-month old Christina. Christina had been crying and Mike, frustrated, shook her, then he covered her mouth to quiet her crying. The acts caused Christina severe brain damage. As a father, Mike failed Christina in a permanent, irreversible way. As a culture, “we” failed Mike in a permanent irreversible way too.

According to “The Book of Harlan,” a nineteen-year-old male or female should not have children. They are not mature enough. Culturally, we failed Mike because this should be common knowledge. Perhaps a few people are mature enough at ninteen, but there is no blanket age for when a child is mature enough, each person is different. However, most are not at age nineteen (my personal, empirical opinion).

I work at sea with men of many ages, men from 19 years old up to 60+ years old. The one trait (observed of the men between ages 19- 26) they seem to predominantly have in common is self-centered immaturity. Many of the men between ages 27-35 also have a noticeable level of “worldly immaturity;” perhaps its because they are on a boat 3000 miles from nowhere.

Has our cultural system failed Mike at many levels? As most of the population, Mike was inundated with movies about having sex, music about having sex, and the American male cultural message: “the more sex you have with "the more women," the more of a man you are.” However, such venues offered little to Mike about “oh, would ya look at that… I have a kid," or how to be a good father.

Was shaken baby syndrome even a national awareness issue in the mid 1990’s? Did Mike have access to the information or was he distracted with MTV? Regardless, Mike’s baby was crying; frustrated, he shook her and gave her brain damage.

Mike and his wife Tina both went to prison over the incident for aggravated child abuse. The baby went into protective custody and eventually was adopted by a foster family who cared for her until she died in 2006 at age twenty.

In the twenty years that have passed, Mike and Tina went on to have several more children and raised them without any incident or getting in any legal trouble themselves. Of course the “Associated Press” is quick to point out in their news-wire that Mike and Tina are indeed “white, trailer-park-trash” and always have been. While they are not as blunt as to directly say so, the point is blatantly obvious between the lines, to anyone with a pulse.

Here is the real kick in the pants to this story: Twenty years later, Christina dies from complications of her injuries. The same prosecutor comes after Mike for first-degree murder. The prosecutor himself admits, “[Mike’s] defense attorneys had raised legitimate issues that could have tied up the case in appellate courts for years and even gotten it overturned.”

ALL STOP! Back up a minute...
DId you catch that? Lets weed out a few words to the basic statement from the prosecutor.

Defense attorney's raised legitimate issues - that could have - gotten it overturned.

What legitimate issues are those? Why is no one talking about these legitimate issues?
Why did Mike throw in the towel? I don't believe a jury in Florida would have convicted him of first degree murder. What kind of game are the attorneys playing? Does the prosecution have photographs of the defense naked with a farm animal? Or did Mike finally run out of money in a system where justice is for sale to those with money?

The prosecutor dropped first degree murder charges in exchange for Mike waiving his right to appeal. Mike decided that his best option was to go prison instead of facing a jury. Again I wonder if after three years of litigation Mike is now broke and cannot afford to keep fighting. The “Associated Press” reminds us – he leaves his family alone in that “white-trash, trailer-park” they never managed to get out of. Thus, Mike goes back to prison for another fifteen years for Second Degree Murder.

So while all this is bouncing around in my mind, I hear a report on the radio. Yesterday, a homeless man, produced a knife and stabbed another homeless man, not just once, but sliced him up like Ron Popeil’s Veg-o-matic. The victim died… right away too. What’s the charge? Second Degree Murder.

REALLY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I am really torn here. Thus I ask:

Is justice being served by Mike going back to prison?

When Mike gets out of prison this time, will he be a better member of society than he is now?

Will his wife and children be better off?

Can society now sleep better at night knowing Mike is in prison?

If Christina lived for twenty-years after her injuries, is it still murder?

If “we” ( myself and you the reader) have a car accident and I die twenty-years later from complications of those injuries – should you go to jail for manslaughter?

Is society getting the justice it deserves by putting Mike in jail “again” regarding his daughter?

I don't see any justice in this ruling. I am sure when he shook his daughter he had no idea he would hurt her that way. Which sounds more likely to you? Mike wrung his hands with premeditated, baby-shaking murder on his mind before grabbing Christina and shaking her? Or a young man too immature to be a father made a very big, ignorant mistake out of extreme frustration?

I do not know Mike. I no nothing about him or his personality. This is just my opinion based on what I read. As the story is given, I could see some charge or degree of manslaughter, but second degree murder... no.

Someone, tell me I am not crazy here.

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Comments 36 comments

Suiiki profile image

Suiiki 6 years ago from City of the Newly Wed and Nearly Dead

The man already paid for the crime of shaking his child, he should not have to pay again. This is not doing anybody any good. Sure she died, but it's been 20 years. I have trouble believing it was due to her injuries...and even if it was, she lived for 20 years after the incident, I'm pretty sure that there is a technicality somewhere saying that murder charges can't be filed so long after the crime, especially if a prison term was already served.


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 6 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

Thank you for your comments Suiiki and thank you for reading my hub. You raise a good point and I agree with you. Regardless, the judge saw it differently. I am thinking the prosecutor has pictures of the judge passed out and in bed with several hookers at the last American Bar Association party. I mean, what else could it be?


Internetwriter62 profile image

Internetwriter62 6 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

I agree with you Harlan, the justice system was totally out of balance in Mike's case. First of all, think of how bad Mike must have felt all those years, knowing that because of one moments indiscretion, his child now has brain damage, isn't that already an unbearable punishment for any parent. Then on top of all the pain, he and his wife had to endure, he gets arrested again, twenty years later because the girl dies. Justice is not served in this case and it is sad that the justice system goes after people like Mike and his wife and lets other real criminals off with a light or barely no sentence. I tell you, it's enough to leave you disillusioned with the whole justice system. Excellent hub.


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 6 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

Well said Internetwriter62.

Thank you for posting.

- Harlan


American Romance profile image

American Romance 6 years ago from America

Folks all I can say is this person held his hand so tightly that he sophicated a tiny child that couldn't fight back until the oxygen left the brain and destroyed the childs ability to ever be normal. I dont care who or what said 19 year olds shouldn't have children, I had one at 19 and shes working on her masters in college. 100 years ago many many had children at 14 and all of them without killing or maiming them. People need self control, and compassion and this is gained by parenting, love,and Gods word. there is no other way


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 6 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

I thought the girl had shaken baby syndrom, I never saw anything about him suffocating her. I knew this was a sticky wicket when I wrote it, but I wanted to see what other people were thinking. You hit the nail on the head about self control, love and God's word.

- Thanks for your post,

- Harlan


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

I agree with you that 19 is way to early to have children, however, our society has always encouraged us to have kids between the ages 19-25. Women worry if they have not had a child by age 30 and God forbid if they are over 40 trying to have a child.

Funny how we get so focused on some issues while allowing very important ones like child safety be something that is never talked about until something drastic happens. Thanks for sharing Mike's story, hopefully, it will educate another 19 year old and prevent it from happening to he or she. :)


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 6 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

I think 23-26 are good ages to start a family. You're more mature, sewed a few wild oats and have a better understanding of life in general. But again, everyone is a little different that way too. Depends on the person.

Thank you for posting.

- Harlan


Surprised 6 years ago

Anyway its a lose lose situation, yes the child died but that man has paid his debt! He shouldn't have to suffer twice! I believe he was young when it happen he now is a much older man and is sorry for what he has done. He might have other child now that he actually takes care of and by putting him in jail could be hurting others. The USA justice system is so wrong!! I'm ready to not have a gov't at all!


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 6 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

Well I don't agree with no government at all, but I would settle for tossing stupid judges, lawyers and politicians out of office and power and perhaps a good tar and feathering to go with it.

- Harlan


Nevada Logan profile image

Nevada Logan 6 years ago from USA

This is just insane and our system is ridiculous! You are correct, he was too young. Now saying that, I was 19 when I had my first kid and it is very hard because you are a kid yourself. I can't imagine shaking my child but other people may not be able to tolerate things as well as some and I'm not using that as an excuse for this man. I believe he paid for his crime. To go back and put him in jail is ludicrous. Sad!


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 6 years ago

I can't believe, in a way , that you think this guy is being mistreated by the system . A bigger man wouldn't shake his baby to death in five minutes or in twenty years , This kid as a vegetable for all that time in essence , correct? One of the biggest problems with crime and punishment is the "oh well" snyndrone , "He didn't really mean to shake his baby",to the point of brain damage .Maybe its just ok to shake them until you snap their neck ,according to a jury? Im sure you don't mean this hub in such a way as to justify his actions , but , he did commit a crime that led to this death , and serving a penalty of abusing a child wasn't enough. Great conversation piece here.


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

Nevada,

I agree, he went to prison for his crime and got out. Since then he has been an upstanding citizen. I don't see the justice in sending him back to prison 20 years later.

- Harlan


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

ahorseback,

I agree with everything you say here, I am just having a hard time with the death being considered a murder. A manslaughter, I could live with. Murder? A lot of people get chemical exposure and die 20 years later - does that mean the company murdered them? No. I don't think he murdered her. Yes, he killed her, but he didn't murder her. It was unintentional, thus manslaughter in my opinion. I guess that is where I differ on this issue. Great answer tho. Thank you for your reply.

- Harlan


drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 5 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

I agree with American Romance, People need self control, and compassion and this is gained by parenting, love,and Gods word, There is no other way! Great Hub!


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

Thumbs up to a lot of the comments already made here. However, I believe the prosecutor had an ulterior motive for going after Mike again. First of all, how many prosecutors track the lives of those involved with every case they've ever prosecuted for 20 years? Not something the average prosecutor does simply because it's near impossible to do. I believe this guy let his ego get in the way. He was thoroughly put out and ticked off that Mike and his wife had the audacity to have more children after the incident. I'm sure in his own mind, he had convinced himself that he had shown the world, including Mike and his wife, what terrible candidates they were for parenthood. Just my opinion, but I believe he felt so deeply affronted about their decision to have more children that he took it as a personal slap in the face. He went after Mike again as a means for justifying the initial prosecution, especially after admitting that it could have been overturned, initially. He was just waiting for them to either screw up again, or for Christina's demise, whichever came first, though it didn't come very quickly. Just one of the issues I believe were involved.


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

Terri M,

Most excellend comment. One of my favorite, very compelling and something I hadn't considered before. Very plausable.

Thank you,

- Harlan


kaiyan717 profile image

kaiyan717 5 years ago from West Virginia

I have heard of prosecutors never letting go of cases that hit home, shock them. A child's life was taken in essence, his future. Is this not murder? Officials have before waited for a victim's death to charge. How do you think the prosecutor felt to watch him in essence murder a child and walk with a few years? And I ask you, is the homeless guy more of a person because he has enjoyed years on this earth and the child never had a chance? Ninteen you are old enough to not kill, everyone at that age knows better than to shake an infant so violently as to cause bleeding in their brain.


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

Kaiyan,

20 some years ago it is very plausable that a 19 year old young man would have no idea that shaking a baby would harm it; I didn't know at that age. I have a hard time wrapping my head around a murder that took 20 years to complete.

Can we say McDonald's murdered people who ate their food for 20 years and then died of a heart attack, because they didn't know it was bad for them? Because, it took them 20 years to die?

I am not arguing that the girl didn't die from her injuries. I am not arguing that he didn't cause the injuries. I am arguing that I think her living for 20 years after the fact is not murder. It is something else. Perhaps manslaughter. Murder is an intentional, willful cause of someone's death. I don't believe Mike intended to kill his daughter.

If I point a gun at you and say DIE and pull the trigger and kill you, that is murder. If I miss and you live, that is attempted murder. This girl lived for 20 years after the incident, and he wasn't even trying to kill her, just make her stop crying. It wasn't murder. It was something else, but not murder.

IF it was attempted murder, why didn't they charge him with attempted murder way back when instead of injury to a child?

The fact that he already spent time in prison for injuring her, in my opinion makes this a level of double jeopardy. However, many folks are disagreeing with me, including the judge and the prosecutor, because Mike went back to prison for murder. I guess I am just wrong here, but I don't see it.

Thank you for the comments and making this hub more interesting. I appreciate your input.

- Best Wishes

- Harlan


ladyjojo profile image

ladyjojo 5 years ago

This is extremely great. Interesting indeed!!

Thanks for sharing.

Oh my our society and government have some of the most stupid laws ever that sometimes contradict them. They charge light crimes harder than bigger ones sometimes.

I guess he did not do it for spite but maybe was a little annoyed by the constant crying of the baby, believe you me sometimes it can be irritating and if you don't have enough patience you'd go off course and do something silly.

BUT..... after so many years how the heck did that become murder?? i cannot comprehend it , if the baby had died when he corked her mouth then i would have agreed.

You know the people that makes these laws and claim to have so many degrees they are more illiterate than you and i. Educate dounce i wonder sometimes who inspire them


chaunatye profile image

chaunatye 5 years ago

What an interesting argument that you have here, I haven't hear dof this story. You make some very good points.

I have to say this, there is no excuse for shaking a child, I have four, two are twins, and they have angered me to the point where I have had to leave for ten minutes during dinner to calm myself, but I would never ever shake them.

I think that in today's society teenage parents are too well accepted, and it is society's fault. I had my first kid when I was 19. Maybe if my parents would have been more involved I wouldn't have, maybe if I knew more about the consequences I wouldn't have, or maybe I was just irresponsible.

I know so many moms my age that should not be parents, but keep having kids. I think something needs to be done about it. I am 29 now, and from the time I had my first kid, I grew up and faced the facts that I am a mom and I need to act like one.

As far as him going to jail for murder, I mean thats a tough one. I agree that his wife and children will suffer, but on the other hand his actions led to the death.

Great write, left me thinking.


HattieMattieMae profile image

HattieMattieMae 5 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

I have read countless stories of shaking babies, that breaks my heart, and is usually out of anger!


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

HattieMattie...

Weird, hub pages gave me the option of labeling your comments as spam... weird! I would never do that to you, as I know you as part of this community, but I found it concerning. I will email you personally so that you know.

- THanks for commenting

- Harlan


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

Wow. Disturbing story that raises far more questions than it answers. Anger is a powerful and dangerous thing, especially in the hands of young men/women who have not been taught to process it correctly. Can't say I agree/disagree with the whole thing (right now, anyway), but I can say that twenty years makes for a LOT of changes in a human being and those changes should be taken into account before tossing another soul into a prison system that's pretty jacked up.


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

Motown,

In thinking on this, if we took all the people who have been injured in accidents caused by others, and died years later - do you know how many people would be in jail for "Delayed Manslaughter?" It would be a lot more than Mike.

I believe this case is unique. I don't know that society is better off with Mike in jail - again - for this tragedy.

Thanks for reading,

- Harlan


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

I have a distinct distaste for the judicial system. That being said, the fact that Mike was 19 is important, but the truth is children can rattle anyone's nerves. I should think intent should have gone a long way in this case. It was not his intention to harm the baby.

I shudder to think what would happen if everyone who ever unintentionally harmed someone could be imprisoned years later. We wouldn't have adequate prisons space. But then again, the U.S. has more people in prison than any other nation in the world, so I suppose they'd build the necessary prisons. Good story.

voted up/useful and awesome


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

Fay,

Thank you for your comment. And.. lol I agree. I did not know America had more people in prison than any other country, I would think China is number 1 based on per/capita alone. I guess its a matter of which is worse, you can be in prison in America and be someone's same-sex slave / punching bag, or you can be in prison in a foreign country and have your organs donated to someone with money on your behalf. Either way, its a horrible ordeal and a political hornets nest.

Thanks Fay,

- Harlan


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 5 years ago from Los Angeles

When someone breaks a law and is put before a judge and jury, the court must consider motive. Samuel Johnson believed that the morality of an action is determined by the motive from which a person acts. I think Mike paid his dues. Lumping Mike in the same category as the homeless murderer is grossly unfair. Give Mike's prison space to someone who willfully committed an evil act.


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

Thank you CoaS,

I got some comments from folks who have a different view, and I remember a couple of them were strong points, but ultimately if I had been on the jury, during the second time around, I would have voted not guilty - I would have hung that jury till the cows came home. The poor jury would have hated me lol.

- Harlan


Lone Ranger 5 years ago

Harlan:

Good article...tough call. Perhaps the front-end of Mike's imprisonment was contingent upon his daughter's injuries, therefore he only received the penalty for child abuse, thus being released pending the outcome of those injuries. Perhaps he went along with the verdict of murder because he understood the conditions of this agreement years ago, and who knows, maybe he somewhat agreed with them. I don't know...I am only speculating.

Indeed, the judicial system is terribly flawed and inconsistent. Casey Anthony was able to kill her child and the court jesters who were posing as jurors allowed her to get away with murder and thus encouraged numerous copy-cat crimes to ensue.

I also read where an elderly man whose medication had ran out, walked out into a nearby park at night and shot a bullet at two troublesome teenagers missing them by fifty feet. He received 32 years in prison for his poor marksmanship. Had he killed one of them, he may have only received 15-20 years behind bars, with time off for good behavior. Unfortunately, lady law is not only blind, but she's deaf and dumb to boot.

In America, justice is only a concept. In fact, Allen Dirshkowitz (O.J. Simpson trial lawyer) claimed that courts do not administer justice at all. He said that if you want justice, call in the clergy and ethics professors. What American courts and the American justice system are designed for is to decide whether or not a litigant's civil and constitutional rights have been upheld. Peace be with you.


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

Awesome points Long Ranger. Good feedback on this. Thank you! - Harlan


Lone Ranger 5 years ago

Harlan said, "Awesome points Long Ranger...."

-----------

Please, Harlan, until now only my wife has ever called me the "Long Ranger", but somehow it sounds better coming from her. :0)


vrajavala profile image

vrajavala 4 years ago from Port St. Lucie

Manslaughter would have been the correct charge.


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 4 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

@ Lone Ranger: Typo. My eyesight is not what it used to be either.

- Harlan


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 4 years ago from the Rocky Mountains Author

@vraj: I would have hung the jury. There are people today doing far worse and walking away. Let's use the cell for someone who needs to be there.

-Harlan


john 4 years ago

This is insane. Not only is it 'double jeopardy' [yes, I know...TECHNICALLY the first one was for battery/child endangerment, etc and this one is for murder, but in reality its being re-tried for the same offense] but is obviously politically motivated.

Had he been black trailer trash, or brown, or yellow, or red...this never would happen. Premeditated murder happens every day with little or no consequence. Locally, several cases have happened where the perp will be out in 5 to 7 years ; and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine from what 'culture' the murderer is from, nor the victim.

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