A friend at work read the TV guide and said: “Killer Women with Piers Morgan? I believe in punishing prisoners, but that’s just cruel.”
Such comments are wrong and unkind and I cannot condone any spite towards Mr Morgan, whose show appears on ITV1 on Thursdays at 9pm. I also condemn the lady who overheard this conversation and added: “If the goal is to put women off murder, sitting them down with Piers Morgan ain’t going to help.” Wrong, wrong, wrong: Piers is a living saint and you all know it. Plus, this is a surprisingly serious programme. Morgan interviews Jennifer Mee, who was a celebrity when she was arrested: at 15 she developed a headline case of the hiccups that lasted several weeks. In 2010, she lured a shop worker to an apartment on the pretence of selling him weed, and then left.
The shop worker was robbed at gunpoint, resisted and was shot dead. Prosecutors did not accuse Mee of intending murder, but under Florida law if someone participates in a robbery that leads to death, they are convicted as if they pulled the trigger. Mee has started a lifetime sentence in jail. She is just 26.
Is that fair? Maybe not, but Morgan’s forensic questioning – and, for all his faults, he is a good journalist – reveals that Mee must have had some idea that the victim was going to come to harm. She displays limited contrition and is heavy on self-justification.
You’ll never find a guilty person in prison, the saying goes, and Morgan remarks that Rebecca Fenton, another convicted killer featured in the programme, is either the victim of the greatest miscarriage of justice in history or a flaming liar. I think it’s the latter.
Aside from Fenton’s husband dying in very mysterious circumstances – a death that friends say she privately took credit for – her home, which she could not afford to keep, later caught fire. Twice. Within one week.
People are cruel, sometimes stupidly so, but is that a reason to operate a stupidly cruel justice system? Fenton deserves a long time in jail, but Mee ought to be given a second chance. Second chances, I thought, were what the US was all about.