If you’ve ever watched as much as one episode of Dexter, you know there’s no doubt about the fact that Dexter is a murderer who would easily be convicted if he were ever arrested after a full investigation into his crimes. But what about Dexter’s adopted father, Harry, who helped mold Dexter into the killer he is? Would Harry be guilty of a crime after what he did to Dexter? Vista homicide defense lawyer Peter M. Liss says he would be.
What, Exactly, Did Harry Do?
Harry was a cop who discovered a baby in the bloody crime scene where his mother was murdered. Harry adopts the infant and names him “Dexter,” hoping to save him by giving him a normal home, but when he discovers the teenage boy has taken to killing neighborhood pets as a teen, he accepts that Dexter has an innate need to kill and will eventually start killing people.
Rather than training the boy to control his desires or taking him to a therapist, Harry eventually relents and decides to train the teen to hunt and kill murderers without leaving any evidence that will lead to his arrest. When Harry is dying in the hospital, he tells Dexter the nurse is poisoning patients with morphine, including him, and then he gives his son permission to kill her. He dies shortly after in the book, but in the movie, he recovers and a year later he sees Dexter kill a pimp who got away with murder. While he trained Dexter on how to be a murder, seeing it in person disturbs him and commits suicide by overdosing on pills a few days later.
So Would he be Guilty?
Obviously Harry wouldn’t be charged with a crime after his death, but assuming he didn’t die in the hospital or kill himself after seeing the monster he created, would Harry be guilty in the Dexter series? Almost any Vista homicide defense lawyer will agree that he would be guilty of at least one count of conspiracy to commit murder, if nothing else.
What is Conspiracy Under California Law?
In California, conspiracy is the act of working together to plan a felony and taking some kind of action toward the completion of that crime. In Harry’s case, telling Dexter that he needs to train his homicidal urges to killing murderers would be the plan and training him to get away with it would be taking an action toward the completion. In fact, the prosecution would probably try to charge him for one count of conspiracy for every act of murder Dexter committed, but chances are the charges would be plead down to only one or two counts or, if it went to trial, he would most likely only be found guilty of one or two counts.
That’s because he was really only directly involved with the murder of the killer nurse and the pimp. The prosecution could back up these charges with the fact that Harry himself helped Dexter pick the nurse as his first victim and while he later regretted seeing Dexter kill the pimp,the entire reason chose the pimp as his victim was because Harry tells Dexter the fact that the pimp got away with murder was exactly why he trained his son to kill.
While Harry’s Vista homicide defense lawyer would probably argue that he just blurted out his statement about the pimp in a moment of frustration and was disgusted when he saw what his words accomplished, the murder of the nurse would be fairly hard to fight if the prosecution had evidence of everything Harry and his son said and did together.
What About Accessory Charges?
While many people in similar situations could be found guilty of these crimes, the facts if this case mean Harry would not have been guilty of aiding and abetting. That’s because he never was actually involved in the activities themselves. If he helped Dexter layout his murder room, helped capture a victim, helped him hide a body, hid evidence on Dexter’s behalf or otherwise aided in any of the specific murders, he could be charged with aiding and abetting.
Vista Homicide Defense Lawyer: Conspiracy Penalties
Ultimately though, it doesn’t matter too much that Harry isn’t guilty of aiding and abetting, because the sentence for conspiracy to commit murder is the same as that of aiding and abetting murder. Either of these crimes makes you eligible for the same sentence of the original crime, meaning Harry would face the same penalties for someone charged with murder. This means he could face up to life imprisonment.
If you have been accused of murder, conspiracy, aiding and abetting or any similar charge, please call Vista homicide defense lawyer Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050.
Image by Clikr-Free-Vector-Images