On June 9, 2000, my close friend, Jason Burgeson, 20 (of Lakeville,
MA), and his friend, Amy Shute, 21 (of Coventry, RI), were brutally
murdered in Rhode Island. The two went dancing at a night club in Providence
with some friends (including me) that night. When the club closed, Jason,
Amy, and two other friends got into Jason's car. After dropping the
other two off at a nearby bar around 2am, Jason and Amy were standing
near Jason's Ford Explorer when they were approached by five men. They
were robbed and forced at gunpoint into Jason's car. The men brought
them to an unfinished golf course where, after watching the two beg
for their lives, one of the men shot each in the head execution style.
In the blink of an eye he took away two bright, fun spirits. Jason and
Amy did nothing to deserve this. Five men were out looking for some
random trouble and found it. Now the families are fighting back . .
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, 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 eventually hear his
case, and we may now not know the outcome for quite some time . . .
The Letter Campaign
Thank you to everyone who participated in the letter campaign. You
helped us get one step closer to justice for Jason and Amy. For those
of you unfamiliar with the letter campaign, we asked everyone to send
letters to Attorney Generals Janet Reno and Margaret Curren to ask that
this case be tried under federal law. Sample letters, both written by
Jason's sister, could be used or people could write their own personal