One night in 1993, William Mitchell once again tried to sleaze onto (his friend) Karen MacKenzie and once again, she knocked him back. So, later that night, he drove out to her home in Greenough Hamlet and hacked her and her three children to death with an axe. He also raped Karen, both before and after he killed her, and sexually assaulted her 7-year-old daughter Amara. We don't know too much about Amara's assault, or exact details of the deaths of the three children (aged 16, 7 and 5), because the evidence was deemed 'too horrific' to be released to the public and, to this day, remains withheld.
After dropping some of the 'minor' charges, as they do, Mitchell was charged with four counts of rape and four counts of murder. In Western Australia, the maximum penalty for raping an adult is 14 years. The maximum penalty for raping a child is (from memory) 20 years. The maximum penalty for murder is also 20 years. Police, judges and the general community consider this crime amongst 'the worst' in Western Australian history. To my mind, one of 'the worst' crimes in history should attract maximum penalties, which in this case should mean a grand total of 148 years behind bars.
William Mitchell got 20 YEARS. That's 5 years in prison for each lost life, and when you take into account the rapes of Karen and Amara, their lives are worth even less.
Mitchell becomes eligible for parole in 2013. He was recently downgraded as a maximum-security prisoner and moved to a medium-security regional prison - a move that generally indicates the person is nearing release. He will only be in his early 40s on release, so he still has plenty of time to start a new life and live happily ever after. Or plenty of time to kill again, as the case may be. Neither outcome is acceptable, as far as I'm concerned.
I am not a supporter of the death penalty under ANY circumstances and, in many cases, I support rehabilitation over long-term imprisonment...but NOT in this case. He drove 25kms to get to her house, stayed for a couple of hours raping and murdering them, washed the murder weapon at the house, then dumped it on the way home, miles from the murder scene. That sounds pretty damn premeditated to me! He then had five weeks to feel guilty and give himself up, but instead filled that time trying to set *others* up for the crime. This piece of excrement should remain behind bars FOR THE TERM OF HIS NATURAL LIFE.
I didn't know Karen, but we had a number of mutual friends. During the five weeks between the murders and when Mitchell was captured, he stayed at one of my mates' houses for a week, got drunk with another of my mates and calmly discussed the killings (not admitting any part in them, of course!), then stayed for a few days (and committed a bizarre and scary act) in the town where I live. For those five weeks, the entire Midwest was living in fear - people who normally don't even lock their doors at night were too scared to walk home from the pub, sleep in the house alone, or let their kids walk themselves to school. It shattered our 'innocence' as a country community and made us fearful of each other. To this day, local people still use the Greenough murders as an example of why we shouldn't be complacent and automatically trust our neighbours... and for that, I will never forgive him. A woman and her children were slaughtered and our way of life was killed in the process. Let the f*cking bastard rot, I say.