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Concerned Citizens Gather To Protest Woodmansee Release

Citizens gathered Friday to protest the early release of Michael Woodmansee.

A rally was held at Old Mountain Field yesterday to protest the early release of Michael Woodmansee from prison. The crowd of approximately 500 marched to Dale Carlia Corner and occupied all four corners encouraging honking horns of support from passing cars, frequently breaking into chants of “no early release.” Woodmansee, a former South Kingstown resident, admitted to killing five-year-old Jason Foreman in 1975 when he was 16 years old. He was caught after trying to strangle local paperboy Dale Sherman, who was 14 years old, in 1982.

Woodmansee was sentenced to a 40-year term after a plea bargain was reached with the agreement of Jason Foreman's family. In accordance with the laws on the books at the time he earned “good behavior” time that allowed him to shave 12 years off his original sentence. The bulk of his prison time was served in Massachusetts but the announcement that he was back in RI in order to transition toward his eventual release in August sent the . Emotions that had been long buried started to run high.

The current RI Attorney General, Peter Kilmartin, is planning a bill to change the good behavior rules currently in place. If the bill succeeds in becoming law, it will not affect the Woodmansee case.

FGH March 13, 2011 at 06:56 PM
I commend all who participated in this protest. Unfortunately, when Woodmansee is released he will likely relocate to another town in another state. This is common practice with convicted sex offenders and child murderers -- just make them the problem of another community. For that reason, I contend this is a federal issue, not just a local one, and our elected congressmen and women must, therefore, implement new and even tougher laws to ensure that monsters like this don't quietly slip away in the night to become the problem of another unsuspecting community. Due to the plea bargain in this case, Woodmansee was never convicted of a sex crime, therefore, he will not be required to register as a convicted sex offender if and when he relocates to a new community. He might even change his name and appearance. He will have the law on his side which could facilitate a repeat performance for a monster with a proven history of crimes against children. Concerned citizens in all 50 states must advocate with their federal elected officials so that laws and sentences will be equally applied across all 50 states and monsters like this will never again be able to harm a child.
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greg55 March 27, 2011 at 11:12 AM
wow what are they protesting?...........Woodmansee is about to serve out his time....the time that the families...prosecuting attorney and judge all agreed upon..........ever one knew fully well this day would come and now whats the big deal.....i guess everyone should have protested to the plea agreement before sentencing.....not after the fact..... And to expect the feds or states to implement a registry for murders, to do what..protect society from them murdering again? Murders have the lowest recidivism rate of all criminals.....this would be a bigger waist of tax dollars then the sex offender registry is...
Robert Trager March 27, 2011 at 12:42 PM
@greg55: I can see why you don't use your real name in your posts. It's pretty sleazy making comments about something that has wounded our community so deeply and hiding behind a fake ID. If you were a decent person, you would simply keep these comments to yourself.
greg55 March 27, 2011 at 12:58 PM
hay bob what you afraid to hear how others think....you don't like it when some one states a comment based on fact and not irrational thinking.........but you know i have the rights to free speech and voicing my opinion just like you do.....just like this woodmansee does.....he did his time set forth by the judge.....i may not like what he did......but i sure as hell defend his right and every other persons right as spelled out in the constitution.....why you think the AG said he cant do anything to stop woodmansee from getting out......because to that little paper called a constitution.
FGH March 27, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Greg55, you do have the right to free speech. And yes, Woodmansee has "served his time" but not as everyone agreed at his sentencing since he has managed to shave 12 years off his sentence by, evidently, behaving better in prison than he did when he lived among the rest of us, which, by the way, would not be difficult to accomplish given that they don't house children in prison! Your "what's the big deal" attitude reveals that you have probably never loved anyone more than yourself, never had the joy of loving a child who came from you, and sacrificing for that child who is a part of you, because if you had, and if you were really paying attention to the issues involved in this case, you would be outraged. You have exercised your right to free speech, and in doing so, you have cast a light on yourself and revealed a very sad and empty person. Since you are more quick to defend the murderers and child rapists being released from prison, many of whom will repeat and escalate their crimes, than you are to defend the innocent citizens among us, the rest of us can readily conclude why you hold the views you do. One more thing, please do us all the favor of pointing out the article of the constitution that guarantees all murderers shall be released back into society after serving 28 years. Go on, use your right to free speech to say something intelligent that you can back up with an actual quote from the little piece of paper with which you claim to be so familiar.
Unknown March 27, 2011 at 10:47 PM
I have been sitting back for weeks and reading all the comments about this unconceivable event from so many years ago. I listen to the news and read the papers, listen to what the local have to say about it. One thing for sure, people like to talk and if there is an audience there will always be a story to be told true or false. I’m not sure why some people have the need to become part of such and awful event to the point of sensationalize the tragedy, however it is happening. For instance why do people say that they went to school with the Forman boy, he never went to school; he was too young at the time of his death. Do you know how stupid that makes you look? Nor is it okay to stand up and say “I knew the family we were close, if I ever see him on the street I will kill him.” Now just for a minute think about that statement, would you really take someone’s life? Would you really give up your freedom? Would you really cause all that pain to your own family and friends? Isn’t that what the problem was in the first place, one person took another persons life and for the crime they went to jail. So you are saying you are no better then Woodmansee. The family of the Forman boy will forever live with their unconceivable loss. There isn’t anything in this world that can make the pain disappear. All they can do is move on. To be continued…
Unknown March 27, 2011 at 10:48 PM
We do live in a free country, and with that being said our free country has rules and laws. Rules and laws that shouldn’t be able to be changed to suit our own wants and needs. Woodmansee went before a jury of his peers as well the judge, it came forth that this was his punishment. Everyone agreed and he was sent away. I am not saying that he was right in what he did, what I am saying is, he did the time that was awarded to him and possibly he might be released. Yes, he might bet out early for good behavior, but he did what was expected of him. The part that is rather vexing to me is, yes we live in a free country but I’m not sure that entitles people to intentionally cause harm to anyone, including convicted murders. Its not okay to threaten anyone (especially on national radio or television) even if they caused you harm. An eye for an eye isn’t part of our civilized communities and sure isn’t what this country stands for. Everyone does have the right to free speech; everyone has the right to live his or her life. People do not always make the correct choices in life. Clearly Woodmansee made a bad choice. Clearly he took the life of an innocent boy, caused insufferable amount of pain to the boy’s family and friends and even to some point to the community. To be continued...
Unknown March 27, 2011 at 10:48 PM
Food for thought: Woodmansee decided to take the life of another. It was premeditated without a doubt. Next weekend you decide to take a ride to the local watering hole to meet up with old friends. You spend way too much time there, not to mention the money, laughing and living it up with your friends. The establishment is now closing; again you have been there for hours you have now spent all your money, time to drive home. You say your good-byes, get in your car, and put the keys in the ignition, the car roars to a start. You only live a mile or so down the road. You think to yourself, “I can make it.” On that mile road home you smashed into a mini-van loaded with a family of five. Mom and dad are okay but little brother was DOA. You are now serving time for the murder of a five year old. Next moth you are up for parole, you did your time, should you be released? Remember your crime was just as premeditated as Woodmansee.
SFM March 27, 2011 at 11:43 PM
To FGH: Constitution of the United States Article I Section 9, Paragraph 3
greg55 March 28, 2011 at 12:02 AM
FGH............it's called .. ex facto...once you are sentenced for your crime....no additional punishment can be added to that sentence........woodmansee was sentenced..every person involved in the case agreed........like it or not he has fulfilled his debt to society........that's what the law says.........if you don't like the law then you change the law........that's what the AG wants to do but as he himself said changing the law will not effect this case.........you say i am to fast to defend a murder, i am not defending a murder ...I am defending what is left of the constitution......i am defending what thousands of men and women have died for over the years.....our values and beliefs in freedom and equal protection . Your statement" many of whom will repeat and escalate their crimes" Can you be so kind as to tell us how you can make this statement.....or where you bought your crystal ball...every Dept of Justice report I have ever read as well as 2 FBI reports that have been published in the last 7 or 8 years contradict what you are saying.......murders have THE lowest recidivism rate of any criminal and seeing you brought up sex offenders there recidivism rate is at 5 to 7 percent.......you are implying that if he had to register as sex offenders have to it would prevent him from murdering again.....to be continued
greg55 March 28, 2011 at 12:13 AM
well sex offenders have to register ok....but if that in and of itself was going to stop them from re-offending explain why in spite of the registry for sex offenders why are the sex crime rates continuing to climb........because they are not being perpetrated by repeat offenders they are being committed by people not on the registry....and in a vast majority of the cases they are friends or family members that commit them If you would take the time to do some research you would know this...the same justice Dept and FBI reports to Congress backs up everything I am saying..... To implement another registry that has been proven to be ineffective such as the one used to track sex offenders would be a waste of tax dollars.....not to mention the legal costs that would be involved defending such a registry......Ohio is a great example of just that....do you have any idea how many legal challenges there are right now nation wide in the court system when it comes to the sex offender registry.........and many of them are being won on grounds its unconstitutional to enact ex facto laws......and that's just what they want in the woodmansee case....keep him locked up. It will not happen
Robert Trager March 28, 2011 at 12:32 AM
I guess I just don't understand why some writers here feel the need to pontificate about Woodmansee's rights. No one is suggesting that we change the Constitution. Some politicians and radio talk show hosts are trying to score points and that is sad. However, there is nothing wrong with examining the injustice of this case and trying to prevent it from happening again. Also there is nothing wrong with examining every legal option, like civil commitment. Furthermore, Chief Vespia said this, and I agree, that Woodmansee might very well want to be commited. Where is he going to go? Who's going to give him a job? Who's going to protect him from retribution? Finally, I'd like to draw a distinction between Woodmansee and a drunk driver. While the outcome is devastating in both scenarios, the intent is completely different. One is a reckless act with a lack of concern for others' safety. The other is pure evil. One has a chance to turn it around. The other can't be rehabilitated. To think otherwise is very naïve.
greg55 March 28, 2011 at 03:35 AM
your right.......why protest his release....you protest the law so the law is changed then..............
FGH March 28, 2011 at 03:45 AM
SFM, Article I Section 9 Paragraph 3 of the U.S. Constitution reads as follows: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." Since you were reading the thread between Gregg55 and me, let's revisit the question I posed to Gregg55. I asked him to "please do us all the favor of pointing out the article of the constitution that guarantees all murderers shall be released back into society after serving 28 years." Instead, you and Gregg55 give me the above, which prohibits Bill of Attainder (a legislative act finding a person or group of persons guilty of treason or felony without trial) and ex post facto (a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of an act). to be continued
FGH March 28, 2011 at 03:46 AM
While I view this citation worthy inasmuch as it points out the beauty of the Constitution for law abiding citizens, it is out of context (since Woodmansee was convicted through court proceedings and a plea bargain) and does not address my original question. So, here it is again: where in the Constitution is time off from a prison sentence for good behavior afforded? Where in the Constitution does it say that all child murderers shall be released after serving 28 years? You cannot cite it because it does not exist. Instead, states and municipalities have enacted layer upon layer of stupid laws to deal with the economic and other issues of overcrowded prisons. We have moved away from the Constitution as the primary law of the land by affording leniency in cases where it is not warranted, simply to deal with prison overcrowding and underfunding. And all of this at the expense of those the penal system is supposed to serve, the good and honest tax paying families of this country. to be continued
FGH March 28, 2011 at 03:47 AM
If we didn't need to protect society from criminals, they would be sentenced to a spa vacation on Anthrax Island, sent for two weeks of group therapy and released in pursuit of happiness. The penal system is a system of punishment, but it serves a much more important function -- to remove from society those who cannot function within its norms and prove so by their own, often heinous behavior. We can argue about whether people like Woodmansee belong in prison, a mental institution, or the electric chair, but to argue that it is safe and well advised to give them another chance in society flies in the face of logic. They HAD their chance at life before they took another's, and now we KNOW what they are. What is so challenging for you and Gregg55 to grasp about that? Why are you so concerned with the rights of these individuals who do nothing but destroy innocent lives? Why aren't you more concerned about protecting other children from people like them? Have you lost the ability to decipher what words mean? to be continued
FGH March 28, 2011 at 03:47 AM
Yes, we do need to change the laws that are allowing child rapists and murderers to be set free, but it has nothing to do with the Constitution so leave your Constitution citations out of this discussion. Where were you to defend the Constitutional rights of little Jason? As I see it, the victim in this case was denied his most fundamental rights, while Woodmansee benefits from all his Constitutional rights and stupid state laws that will set a murderer free 12 years before he has actually paid his debt to society. Why is it so hard for you to understand the difference between time off for good behavior (a stupid legislative act in no way guaranteed by the Constitution) and ex post facto law (a Constitutional guarantee not to change the consequences of a crime retroactively)?
FGH March 28, 2011 at 03:48 AM
Finally, I only brought up the sex offender registry because Woodmansee supposedly admitted to, or wrote about, committing a sex crime before the murder. Since he was not convicted of a sex crime, he will not be required to register as a sex offender. Knowing what Woodmansee did, why don't you and Gregg55 offer Woodmansee a babysitting job for your child, because as ridiculous as that sounds, it's a foreseeable possibility that he could again be around children one day. If that thought doesn't disgust you then my previous comments are more accurate than I thought. Do you really expect someone who committed these terrible acts, then serves 28 years in prison (no easy environment) to get out of prison rehabilitated and ready to live a good life, contribute something positive to society, and even be able to trust themselves? I'm afraid that's very naive.
greg55 March 28, 2011 at 04:11 AM
i see where you are coming from FGH and your right.....but the legislators in their wisdom decided to pass a law giving good time....in most cases these laws were passed to correct a earlier problem...namely prison over crowding.......the lock em up mentality that was pushed so hard for back fired and this is what you got.......and again we can go right back to woodmansee....why was he offered such a light sentence of 40 years? and you don't need more laws...they could have sentenced him to life or life with no parole...but they didn't...and the family had to agree with the plea deal as well....that's the point....he did his time....it's done it's over.....no matter what people think or say it will not change that fact....all you can do is change the laws that will change the outcome of any one convicted after the law is past........... you look at whats taking place in japan....you don't see looting going on like you would see here if something like that happened here.......but yet in the U.S. you have the highest percentage of its population in the prison system....why?...it does nothing to prevent crime....because if it did we still wouldn't be having all the problems we are having.......
greg55 March 28, 2011 at 04:19 AM
I think here is one thing that all of us can agree on....the system we have now does not work....that is self evident by the crime rate that we have nation wide and even compaired to the rest of the world ......a responcible approach has to be taken and looked at...we can't let emotions get in the way.....we can't let the politicains right laws that are only intended to increase there chances of being re elected.......I think we all can agree with this
FGH March 28, 2011 at 06:23 AM
Greg55 yes we can agree that the system is broken, that the process of legislating is actually moving us backward as a society and culture, and that too many are in prison for non-violent offenses taking up precious space that should be reserved for people who should never be let out because they pose a real threat to the safety of others. So maybe you can look at my original post, which was about the protest, and try to understand that nobody wants a person like Woodmansee in their community and people are angry that our legislative process is creating unintended consequences such as in this case. A 40 year sentence is much better than 28 years for keeping someone dangerous out of a community, so we must be asking why the laws that are currently in place are affording this individual such an early release after such a terrible crime. It must be rectified. Getting out and protesting his upcoming release, not on a Constitutional basis but on a human, practical one, lets our elected officials know when their policies are failing the electorate. Simple as that. And we as Americans need to get our voices heard more, in the spirit of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly, to ensure that our government performs in a manner that reflects our values and priorities. As it stands now this case is but one more example of government failing itself and its citizens. It's well past time we all start thinking very critically and demanding that our elected officials fix this mess.
greg55 March 28, 2011 at 08:34 AM
FGH....I think that had this artical beeb worded a little different we never would have had this debate......We both took this artical the way writen to mean different things. I took it to be saying they are protesting his release in a attempt to stop it....which is not right. I will look at this from the veiw they are protesting his release and the protest is to bring this to the attention of state officails in hope they rewrite the laws pertaining to earned good time for such offenders as Woodmansee.....possibly make it a manditory life with out parole if a murder is committed against a child under age 5...10 or what ever age they decide....like some states have for cop killers
greg55 March 28, 2011 at 08:41 AM
FGH I just want to say I respect you for taking the stand you did to defend your beliefs....that is something that a lot of Americans will not do....and that is part of the problem these days. People just don't care any more....you have very good pionts and in the end I have to say we both are pretty close in our beliefs. Been a pleasure sir.
FGH March 28, 2011 at 09:03 PM
Greg55, thanks for your final comment. To me the most important part of any debate is citing facts to support your argument. That is part of the scientific method which so many seem to have lost the art of. Unfortunately our politicians (both kinds) have mostly lost the art of not only debate, but also common sense. The inability to anticipate many of the unintended consequences of their policy decisions renders our law and policy making process a total train wreck. It permeates our society, from large corporations to federal and state government, and unfortunately, right down to individual households. People need to recapture the sense they were born with, and learn to think critically for themselves, taking into account all the conflicting information, statutory and common laws, human impacts, economic impacts, and balance all of that to elect better representatives and make better policy. Over time, our nation's leadership has created an unprecedented level of irrational laws and policies that create unnecessary and completely avoidable pain, suffering, and economic hardship through bad policy, corporate welfare, and total incompetence. At least 50% of all statutory laws could be eliminated today and we would all be better off for it. Except, that is, for people like Woodmansee who will happily take advantage of the unintended leniency that the law currently affords them. That is the real issue here if anyone cares to understand. P.S. Not a sir, but thanks!
E Gerson April 02, 2011 at 07:13 PM
Please "like" the FB page "STOP the early release of Rhode Island Cannibal" www.facebook.com/stoptheearlyreleaseofrhodeislandcannibal We are dedicated to taking concrete and legal steps to prevent this travesty and to enacting laws to begin to change our badly-broken "justice" system. "Evil flourishes when good people do nothing". Do SOMEthing- stand with us!

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