Traveling nurse from Texas Nicole Linton, 37, has been charged with six counts of murder and six counts of manslaughter after allegedly speeding through an intersection, leaving six dead. Citing a record of Nicole’s alleged thirteen previous wrecks, the prosecution claimed she was a danger. A judge gave Nicole a two-million-dollar bail, which was increased to nine million before being changed to a no-bond. The loss of life caused by this incident is sad, but we shouldn’t jump to conclusions about Nicole’s guilt, especially since people in similar situations faced probation, and she may not even be fit to stand trial.
At the age of sixteen, Ethan Couch in Burleson, Texas, killed four people, paralyzed two and injured a total of nine people while drunk, high and driving on a restricted license. He fled the scene of the crime but was ultimately arrested and charged with manslaughter. His defense was the “Affluenza” defense, claiming Ethan was so wealthy, he couldn’t tell right from wrong. Though he was convicted, Ethan got probation. He eventually fled to Mexico, was caught and sentenced to 720 days in jail. He did some of the sentence and got out.
Although Ethan was a juvenile, he could very well have been charged as an adult. However, it’s not surprising that a white teen from a wealthy family basically faced no consequences for his actions. For the same actions, the Black woman Nicole Linton is facing up to 90 years in prison. Already, people have judged her, and the judge has given her a no-bond. According to her lawyer, Nicole may have some mental health issues, but it doesn’t seem the court is taking this mitigating fact into consideration.
Nicole is a traveling nurse, and many nurses work twelve-hour days. No one knows what was going on inside that car with her. She could have fallen asleep, had a jammed gas pedal or something worse. Though lives were loss, this is not a time to hang her out to dry. Nicole deserves to have her side of the story heard. If Ethan Couch can kill four people and paralyze two while high on drugs and drunk and get probation, we should be willing to hear the defense of a nurse who helps to save lives.
Nicole may have a mental illness, according to court records and her attorneys. Those suffering from mental illness need compassion. They should not be prisoners; they should be patients. Let’s not forget we live in a country that puts more money into bombs than it does healthcare. Nicole may not even be fit to stand trial. Stop yourself from judging her. Let her team tell her story, and listen with open ears and caring heart.
J Reed, MFA is an adjunct English professor and writer from Chicago, who writes fiction, nonfiction and local and national news stories. Subscribe and share. Follow J Reed on Twitter @jreed913.