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Disparities in Two Road Rage Cases

Through the examination of similar court cases, one may note the disparities in how the public perceives such cases, the media's role, and sentencing. "1 in 18 Black women born in 2001 is likely to be incarcerated" compared to 1 in 111 white women. As of 2021, Black women made up 30% of the women's prison population and 44% of women in jail. But Black women only represent 13% of the population.

Sparkles Lindsey (Georgia)

On October 11, 2013, Sparkles Lashayla Lindsey fatally shot Kimberly Kilgore, 21. Following an altercation between Sparkles and Kilgore's friends that turned physical, Sparkles pulled out her gun and fired at Kimberly. The police stated the initial disagreement was linked to road rage. Sparkles was 22 when she was arrested on October 12, 2013 and held without bond.

The media depiction of Sparkles is perceived quite negatively. Daily Mail reported this incident and from the start Sparkles Lindsay’s prior arrests are brought up. Another article titled “Lesbian Charged with Killing Kennesaw Student During Road Rage Incident,” stated Sparkles “emulated the thug life” and had a criminal record that “most rappers would envy.” Additionally, stating “Lesbian Charged With...” makes it appear as if her sexuality should be negatively perceived and affected her actions when it has nothing to do with the incident.

Focusing on the images provided by the news sources, almost all of them included Sparkles’ headshot. From the various articles I saw, if her headshot was not present then no picture was included in the article. In these articles, none of them include any positive adjectives to describe Sparkles. There are no quotes from her attorney, family members, or friends advocating for her.

On February 10, 2015, Sparkles was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 30 years. She accepted the plea deal to charges of murder, aggravated assault, and having a weapon as a convicted felon.

Darla Jackson (California)

Darla Jackson's road rage case demonstrates a distinction in treatment by the media, public, and courts from Sparkles Lindsey's. On May 28, 2015, Darla Jackson and Zachary Buob, 39, had an altercation before Darla ran the motorcyclist with her car. According to Deputy District Attorney Laura Evans, Jackson had swerved her car towards Buob multiple times and chased him through four lanes of traffic. Darla Jackson was held in a women’s detention center without bail and initially pleaded not guilty in June 2015. She faced a second-degree murder charge, but in January 2017 Darla pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. Darla claimed she did not purposefully run over Buob with her car, even though she stated the reasoning for her chasing him was because she “wasn’t going to let him do that.”

"Per some witness statements, it appeared it was a deliberate and intentional act." -Deputy District Attorney Laura Evans referring to Darla's actions

As a result of this lesser charge, Jackson faced a maximum of eleven years in prison. But the presiding judge sentenced her to six years.

News reports varied significantly in their publications of this case. For example, images of Darla included her at court and tearful, rather than her mugshot (images below). The description of Darla’s demeanor is also different. ABC 11 described how Darla was sobbing in court and visibly upset rocking back and forth. Her defense attorney and family are quoted in various news sites advocating for her.

Images from ABC 11 and Fox

Although in the first case Sparkles had a gun, Darla used her car as a weapon to murder Zachary Buob. Sparkles charges led to life imprisonment while Darla received six years. There are significant differences in the media's publications of these two cases. Such inconsistencies include neglecting to put information on Sparkles defense, differing types of photographs used, and the descriptions of the two individuals.


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1 Comment

Dudley Sharp
Feb 24, 2022

For anyone who follows criminals justice, we know that rape charges may end up with a not guilty verdict to probation to a life sentence and, everything, in between.

That is was is part of a criminal justice system, when we have prosecutorial discretion, very different judges and juries, different sanctions by the 50 states and the feds.

It's, often, infuriating and made even worse, now, by judges and prosecutors that free, on no cash PR bail, murder defendants.

May sanity return.

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