Thursday March 11, 2010
Drake Found Guilty of Murdering Pro-Life Activist Jim Pouillon
By Kathleen Gilbert
OWOSSO, Michigan, March 11, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Harlan Drake, the Michigan man accused of shooting to death local pro-life protester Jim Pouillon in September, has been found guilty of the first-degree murders of Pouillon and another man, gravel pit owner Mike Fuoss, whom he shot to death later the same day.
Local news reports that Drake was also convicted on counts of felony firearm and of carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent. The jury deliberated for about four hours before returning their verdicts.
Drake had repeatedly confessed the two murders to investigators, and indicated no remorse. He also stated during the trial that he specifically targeted Pouillon for his pro-life activities, and that he only decided to kill Fuoss, a former employer, after shooting Pouillon and realizing that he had nothing to lose. He targeted Pouillon and Fuoss because, he said, his mother had expressed displeasure with both.
He is expected to receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison April 21.
Defense attorneys unsuccessfully attempted to convince the jury that Drake was insane at the time of the murders and should not be held criminally responsible. The prosecution had argued that Drake understood what he was doing and knew it was wrong when he carried out his plan to murder the pro-life activist as he stood protesting abortion outside Owosso High School on September 11, 2009.
Drake indicated that he had no remorse for the killings, but understood he deserved to be punished for them. Prosecutors said Drake believed he was a hero.
The convicted murderer smiled and nodded as the verdicts were being read, according to ABC affiliate WJRT 12.
Mary Jo Pouillon, daughter of James Pouillon, told the local news station she was happy the verdict came today. “I’ve been trusting in the Lord that His will would be done with all this, and I was really hoping that it would come to a verdict today,” she said.
“Justice has been done,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman in a press release Thursday. “We are relieved that Mr. Drake’s behavior will not be excused because he had a sad story to tell, and that he will be locked away for the rest of his life.
“The pro-life community was stunned by Jim Pouillon’s senseless murder and a lot of us who share Jim’s passion for protecting the innocent became acutely aware of just how fragile life can be,” Newman continued. “Jim was a kind-hearted man who cared about the injustices of the world and the plight of pre-born babies that die every day at our nation’s abortion clinics.
“He had the courage to get up and try to do something about that injustice. The world was diminished by Jim’s death and those of us who knew him miss him very much.”
Newman offered prayers that “Mr. Drake will now seek repentance and forgiveness through Jesus Christ while we continue to pray for comfort, healing, and closure for the victims’ families and for the community that has been traumatized by these tragic murders.”