Joseph Francois Jean, that sterling citizen who was born into a poor, dysfunctional family, earned a GED in prison and was never in a security threat group or gang while he was in prison, was sentenced to death because 17-year-old Chelsey Lang and her 16-year-old cousin Ashley Johnson had repeatedly struck his baseball bat with their heads and forced him to set Chelsey’s mother’s house on fire.
On Friday, Jean refused to suffer the indignity of having to hear Chelsey and Ashley’s mothers saying bad things about him in court during the victim impact statements. After all, wasn’t he the real victim in this case? He is the one who should have been able to say bad things about Chelsey and Ashley for spilling blood all over his baseball bat.
Shortly after a jury had sentenced Jean to death Friday, bailiffs dragged him kicking and screaming out of a Houston courtroom while he was trying to shout down Ashley’s tearful mother as she began her victim’s impact statement.
Jean, wearing leg shackles, jumped from his seat at the defense table and began shouting at Ashley’s mother as she clutched a framed photo of Ashley to her chest. Pandemonium broke out in the courtroom as several of the girls’ family members jumped up and screamed at poor old Joe Jean. The judge ordered one of them ejected from the courtroom. Jean could be heard yelling in the holdover cell for a few minutes.
After about 10 minutes Jean calmed down and was allowed to return to the defense table where, adding insult to injury, poor old Joe had to hear Chelsey and Ashley’s family members say unkind things about him.
I’m just besides myself and at a loss for words over how a jury of his peers failed to recognize poor old Joe as the real victim in this case. I am now using up the other half of my toilet paper roll to wipe those streaming tears off my face.