Judge Robert E. Crowley decided a convicted murderer, who even when he served his time, continued to be violent toward women, that Albert Flick, 77, was too old to commit another heinous crime. Guess what he did? He murdered again.
It took the jury less than an hour to convict Albert Flick, 77, for the 2018 murder of Kimberly Dobbie, 48, who was slain in front of her 11-year-old twins outside a laundromat in Lewiston, a city of 36,000.
The killing itself was shocking, but so was Mr. Flick’s violent past, leaving Ms. Dobbie’s family and others in the town to question why he was ever allowed to be freed.
Mr. Flick was convicted in his wife’s murder and spent 25 years in prison. But the violence continued after his release: He was convicted of punching and stabbing a woman — who a prosecutor said was a girlfriend — with a fork in 2007, and of assaulting and threatening another woman with whom, a prosecutor said, he had a sexual relationship, in 2010.
A prosecutor then urged a judge to sentence Mr. Flick to about eight years in prison, calling him a danger to society and women. Despite his age — then in his late 60s — she told the judge that he was not about to stop.
Judge Robert E. Crowley cut that recommendation in half, sending Mr. Flick back to prison for less than four years.
“At some point Mr. Flick is going to age out of his capacity to engage in this conduct,” Judge Crowley said, “and incarceration beyond the time he ages out doesn’t seem to me to make good sense from a criminological or fiscal perspective.”
Well, guess what? Judge Crowley made an unforgivable error. How is it possible to think that the mere passing of years will change a person’s behavior? In most cases, just the opposite is true. Vices become hard wired over time and tougher to change with each passing year. At some point, behavior becomes character and character leads to more behavior.
Even after serving 25 years in prison for murdering his wife, Flick remained violent and was convicted of serious crimes. Yet, Judge Crowley believed that an “old man” wasn’t capable of committing another murder. Thanks to that decision, Flick remained free to kill again. Now, it’s hopefully unlikely he will taste freedom again.