Reno, NE–Background: In June 2006, Darren Mack (pictured), a wealthy Nevada father who was involved in a divorce, stabbed his estranged wife to death and then executed a well-planned murder attempt on a Nevada judge. Mack shot and wounded the judge but failed to kill him. According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, when police searched Mack’s residence they found he “had bombmaking materials in his bedroom” as well as “several boxes of firearm ammunition.” At the time of Mack”s murder spree, I wrote:
“I condemn without qualification the crimes allegedly committed by Darren Mack in Nevada last week. Mack was angered by his divorce and custody case. Some on the not insubstantial lunatic fringe of the fathers’ rights movement see Mack as some sort of freedom fighter. Most of the commentary by other fathers’ rights advocates seem to be of the ‘he couldn’t take it anymore and snapped” variety.
“I don’t buy it. Though everyone is focusing on Mack’s attempted murder of a judge, everyone seems to forget that he first stabbed and killed his estranged wife. After murdering her, he shot the judge through the judge’s third-floor office window with a sniper rifle from over 100 yards away. That’s not ‘snapping”–that’s premeditated murder. Mack is not a good man trapped in a bad system. He is a bad guy. Because of men like him the system had to create protections for women, and unscrupulous women have misused those protections to victimize countless innocent men. Men like Mack aren’t the byproducts of the system’s problems–they are the problem.’
It wasn’t the rope and a tree that Darren Mack deserved, but it was close enough. Friday Darren Mack–who stabbed and killed his estranged wife as his little daughter played with her toys upstairs–was sentenced to life in prison.
Mack first tried what I called the Mary Winkler defense, making the unlikely claim that he slashed his wife’s throat in self-defense. It was a brutal killing–Charla Mack’s head was almost severed from her body. How Mack defending himself against Charla necessitated then driving to the courthouse and trying to kill a judge in a well-planned, methodical way was never explained.
Douglas Herndon, the Nevada judge in the criminal case, explained that he let Mack speak for quite a while before his sentencing, and that Mack expressed “no remorse” for his crimes. According to the Associated Press:
“In handing down the sentence, Herndon cited the heinous nature of the crimes and Mack’s lack of remorse.
“‘The truth is Mr. Mack is guilty of these crimes, but he doesn’t want to hear anything about that,’ the judge said.
“Mack on Thursday reiterated claims that he acted in self defense when he slashed his wife’s throat in the garage of his southeast Reno townhouse.
“He also has argued that he was coerced by his former lawyers into the plea deal, and suggested the attorneys, prosecutors, investigators and law enforcement officers who investigated the case were corrupt.
“Herndon said while he allowed Mack to go on at length, he never said what the judge hoped he’d hear: ‘I’m sorry.'”
My position on Mack has inspired a lot of hostility from some posters on other men’s and fathers’ rights blogs, which tells you more about some of these guys than you’d like to know. One of the many idiotic statements made is that, based on my position on Mack, when fathers are mistreated in the family law system, I don’t think they should resist.
Ludicrous–I sure as hell do think they should resist. They should resist like David Chick. They should resist like Gary LaMusga. They should resist like Jolly Stanesby and John Brumbaugh and Benoit Leroux and Daniel Sims. More importantly, we need to work to build a viable fatherhood movement.
My sympathies are with the guy who did the best he could to be a good husband and a good father and who got shafted anyway. The good dad who can’t see his kids, or who can only see them four days a month while mom turns them against him the other 26. The guy whose kids were dragged halfway across the country for no reason, or whose child support obligations impoverish him. That isn’t Darren Mack.
Mack didn’t even take his marriage seriously, apparently resisting giving up the swinger lifestyle he knew was endangering it, and then, even after being given joint physical custody on a week-on, week-off basis, going on a murderous rampage. I’ve no more sympathy for him than I do for Mary Winkler or Mazoltuv Borukhova.
My coverage of Darren Mack is below, as is the Associated Press article. Also, see the Reno Gazette-Journal’s Darren Mack Blog.
Blowback on Darren Mack (A response to a MensNewsDaily.com writer’s criticism of me)
Nev. Man Gets Life Term for Killing Wife
By SANDRA CHEREB
RENO, Nev. (AP) — A former pawn shop owner was sentenced to life in prison on Friday for the killing of his estranged wife and shooting of the judge who handled their bitter divorce.
Darren Mack, 46, will be eligible for parole after 36 years. Mack pleaded guilty in November to first-degree murder in the June 2006 stabbing death of his wife, Charla, and entered an Alford plea to a charge of attempted murder of Washoe Family Court Judge Chuck Weller.
Mack admitted in court that he shot Weller through a courthouse window the day he killed his wife but invoked the Alford plea, in which a defendant acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction without admitting guilt. Weller has recovered from his wounds.
District Judge Douglas Herndon followed the recommendations of a plea deal by sentencing Mack to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years on the murder charge.
The judge upheld the recommendation of Special Prosecutor Christopher Lalli by sentencing Mack to 40 years with parole possible after 16 years for attempted murder with a deadly weapon.
The terms are to run consecutively.
In handing down the sentence, Herndon cited the heinous nature of the crimes and Mack’s lack of remorse.
“The truth is Mr. Mack is guilty of these crimes, but he doesn’t want to hear anything about that,” the judge said.
Mack on Thursday reiterated claims that he acted in self defense when he slashed his wife’s throat in the garage of his southeast Reno townhouse.
He also has argued that he was coerced by his former lawyers into the plea deal, and suggested the attorneys, prosecutors, investigators and law enforcement officers who investigated the case were corrupt.
Herndon said while he allowed Mack to go on at length, he never said what the judge hoped he’d hear: “I’m sorry.”