The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Two Words: ‘General Population’

Posted on | February 21, 2024 | Comments Off on Two Words: ‘General Population’

Say hello to Don Steven McDougal, 42, another repeat offender who never should have been let out of prison. Over the years, I’ve called attention to lots of criminals who fit this description. They keep getting turned loose until finally they commit an atrocity that makes nationwide headlines, but no matter how many times the lesson is repeated, people never seem to learn. Here is a summary of McDougal’s Texas record:

  • February 2003: 3 years for assault of a public servant out of Liberty County
  • February 7, 2006: 8 months for theft out of Harris County
  • February 14, 2006: 180 days for possession of less than 1 gram of meth out of Harris County
  • March 2007: 2 years for enticing a child out of Brazoria County
  • July 2009: 180 days for unauthorized use of a vehicle out of Harris County
  • February 2010: 4 years for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon out of Harris County
  • September 2020: 2 years for unauthorized use of a vehicle out of Liberty County
  • September 2022: McDougal is released after completing his sentence

That’s seven convictions over the span of about 20 years, so it seems that McDougal spent basically his entire adult life either (a) committing crimes or (b) serving prison time. At no time was he ever a law-abiding citizen, but they kept turning him loose until he finally killed somebody:

Don Steven McDougal, the family friend accused of killing 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham in Livingston, Texas, is now charged with capital murder, according to court documents filed in Polk County on Wednesday.
McDougal — who was already in jail in connection with an unrelated assault case — was ordered to be held without bond.
“Video footage and cell phone data places McDougal at three locations of interest,” including along the Trinity River, where Audrii’s body was recovered Tuesday, according to a criminal complaint.
Investigators say McDougal had agreed to take the girl to a school bus stop on the morning that she disappeared, but she never arrived. In the complaint, a sheriff’s deputy said there is evidence “McDougal lied about his whereabouts and activities on the day of February 15, 2024.”
A large rock was found tied around Audrii’s body when her remains were discovered, the court document says. “The rope used was consistent with rope that was observed in McDougal’s vehicle on a traffic stop two days prior,” the complaint states. . . .
McDougal, a friend of Audrii’s father, lived in a trailer on the family’s property and sometimes took the girl to catch her school bus in the neighborhood, the sheriff said. He has been the main person of interest in her disappearance as authorities frantically scoured the rural east Texas town of Livingston – about 70 miles northeast of Houston, he said.

In retrospect, of course, we must question the judgment of Audrii’s father for befriending this tattoo-coverage jailbird, but more importantly, this raises questions about the criminal justice system’s failure to appropriately prosecute repeat offenders. How many felonies does a criminal have to commit before we finally decide to lock them up for life? And while we’re discussing that, I should remark how unfortunate it would be if Don Steven McDougal were to have an accident while in the Polk County Jail. Probably he should be locked in solitary confinement for his own safety, because if the sheriff’s department were to put him in general population . . . Well, an accident might happen.

Every inmate in the cell block would swear up and down that McDougal just slipped and fell down the steps, which would explain the multiple blunt-force trauma injuries to McDougal’s skull. And the sheriff’s department would be embarrassed to admit that their surveillance camera system had a technical malfunction that day, so that there could be no video evidence that would contradict the inmates who said McDougal was the victim of an unfortunate accident.

“But what about that shiv in his eyeball?”

“Hey, man — accidents happen.”


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