This is what I would consider an appropriate Memorial Day tribute to Army Captain Phillip Esposito—perhaps the only appropriate Memorial Day tribute given the circumstances of Phillip’s unpunished murder and the subsequent acquittal of his accused killer. I would like the soldiers who voted to acquit Phillip’s accused murderer to come out and explain their votes. I would like these soldiers to step up and show exactly what their reasons were to find Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez “not guilty.”
We know why the jurors in the OJ case voted to acquit OJ. We know why the jurors in the Casey Anthony case acquitted her. I can think of no infamous case that ended both in acquittal and where the reasons for the acquittal remained as opaque as they are with Phillip’s murder. The soldiers who voted to acquit Phillip’s murderer have hidden in silence. That’s cowardice. That’s disgusting.
Yes, if these soldiers who voted to acquit Phillip’s murderer attempted to explain themselves, I’d probably be able to demolish their arguments while standing on one foot. Yes, I would analyze their reasons and lay any flaws I saw bare. But also, I would point out where I might agree with them, or where I saw reasons for honest disagreement.
But at least, for the sake of the victims’ survivors—who should be of our utmost concern—there would come the clarity of knowing precisely why these soldiers saw fit to acquit Alberto Martinez of the crimes alleged to him. At least there would come the ability to say, “this is what happened, and this is why it is right, or wrong.”
If such honesty is too much to ask for, then these military jurors should never consider Memorial Day a day where they remember fallen patriots. They should just treat it as any other day—a good day to buy a cheap car or a new mattress, but not a day of honoring and respecting our dead. Dead soldiers like Phillip Esposito—a soldier who deserved far, far more justice than he ever got.