16-Year Prison Term For Convicted Murderer
This story is about a 16-year prison term a Minneapolis man received for the murder of Tom Dahl in 2005. First, the lead is too long and confusing. The Star Tribune reporter seems to have a bias about people who go out for a drink. Lead: "The killer of a Minneapolis man who went out for drinks with coworkers today received nearly 16 years in prison – the midpoint of sentencing guidelines for his crimes." I think saying : A convicted killer of a Minneapolis man was sentenced to 16 years in prison yesterday, would be better and less confusing.
Other problems with the story were, reporter implied that there were other crimes committed in addition to the murder. But the story did not say what other crimes the convict was found guilty of.
Also, the use of "who stood before the judge" was not necessary. It is understood that one has to stand to hear his or her sentence in court- guilty or not. "victim impact statement" is simply a statement. Telling us that the wife of the murdered man received a police call at "2 am" without telling us the month and year makes the story less informative. Equally so, telling us that the victim's coworkers put down about 11:30 pm without the month and year was journalistically immaterial.
The St. Paul's Pioneer Press however did an excellent job in handling the same story. Read this story at: pioneerpress.com. This writer, unlike the Star Tribune, did not show any bias at what the victim was doing. Her sentences were shorter and to the point. The Pioneer Press reporter also told readers that "Brian Kidd Trimble, 39, was convicted last month of second-degree unintentional murder in the November 2005 beating death of Thomas Dahl, 35. He was also convicted of first-degree manslaughter."
Star Tribune Reporter said 17 year sentence. This was factually wrong. The correct Prison term handed by Hennepin County Judge Gary Larson was reported by Pioneer Press: 16 years three months. The Pioneer Press reporter made an important attribution."The sentence of 16 years and three months, handed down by Judge Gary Larson, was at the midpoint of the sentencing guidelines for a defendant with Trimble's background, Sweasy said"
Kudos to the Pioneer Press, St. Paul.