Romani culture blamed for criminal life

Another update to a previous story. This one has an interesting angle…

Woman sentenced in vicious killing of Seattle veteran | Local News | The Seattle Times.

Brenda Nicholas was the “mastermind” who plotted to kill a 70-year-old Navy veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient for months because she wanted to get her hands on his valuable coin and uncut bill collection, a crime she and two accomplices carried out with extreme brutality, King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom said Friday.

“The motive behind this murder was solely greed,” Carlstrom told Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle during Nicholas’ sentencing hearing for the December 2011 stabbing death of Francis “Patrick” Fleming inside his unit at the Four Freedoms senior apartments in Seattle’s Bitter Lake neighborhood.

In addition to orchestrating Fleming’s slaying, Nicholas attempted to kill and rob another elderly man on the same day Fleming was killed, Carlstrom said. She was also charged with more than 50 criminal counts for a variety of thefts, with most of the counts related to bilking a woman in her 80s out of $1 million. Nicholas also stole from at least three landlords she rented properties from, said Carlstrom.

Her defense? She was raised as a “gypsy”. The Defense attorney blamed Nicholas’ Romani upbringing since she was “frankly, raised to steal, taught to steal.” Nicholas can not read, was supposedly a victim of domestic violence and the money she stole was said to be given to her family for medical bills. She was sentenced to a little over 34 years in prison. This is an astounding tale of the trail of crime from this woman. How much blame do we place on the Romani (gypsy) culture that is responsible for the rash of psychic-related crimes across the country? They don’t seem to be killing people for money, though. This case was extreme.

Here is another case where this where the culture was used as a defense. Education is not a priority so stealing is the way to make money. They even claim that the culture is a religion which should be protected.

Tip: Chris Haynes

  16 comments for “Romani culture blamed for criminal life

  1. August 10, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    Yeah, a bunch of children tried to rob me when I lived in Spain. It was very hard to see a place for them. It took a lot of rehumanizing of them for me to be able to live with my conscience.

  2. spookyparadigm
    August 10, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    You might want to look into some of the anthropological work on the Rom by Anne Sutherland. In addition to her book-length treatment, she has a short chapter in the very common intro to anthro reader/textbook Conformity and Conflict, that deals specifically with the issue of theft and differing values.

  3. August 11, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    Prisons rarely change the inmates. It seems likely that in some far off future they will all be closed and people not accepted by society will be treated medically. Will that be a better world than the one we have at present? I’m not sure.

  4. August 11, 2013 at 4:46 AM

    Although we are not responsible for any of our actions we live in a world of cause and effect. So those who commit crime, if caught, usually end up in prison. We may not like the people we call criminals, but it helps us if we do not to despise them. We should be thankful that our lives are more stable and easier than theirs.

  5. Chris Howard
    August 11, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    We’re not responsible for any of our actions? I’d love to hear the reasoning behind this claim.

    I understand that there are instances when certain events are beyond our control, but we are never responsible for what we think, and do. That seems a bit extreme, and unrealistic.

  6. August 11, 2013 at 10:02 AM


    Sorry, not so..

    “When a man acts in ways that annoy us we wish to think him wicked, and we refuse to face the fact that his annoying behaviour is the result of antecedent causes which, if you follow them long enough, will take you beyond the moment of his birth, and therefore to events for which he cannot be held responsible by any stretch of imagination. When a motorcar fails to start, we do not attribute its annoying behaviour to sin, we do not say, you are a wicked motorcar, and you shall not have any more petrol until you go.”
    Betrand Russell (1872-1970) Philosopher and Nobel prize-winner.

  7. Chris Howard
    August 11, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    @ Michael

    Do you have anything, other than quotes, and philosophy, say hard evidence from psychology, neurology, sociology, or the like that would stand up to scientific scrutiny, or is this just an opinion?

  8. zhu bajie
    August 12, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    Gypsies have known a lot of persecution in the last 100 years. I doubt they are more criminal than, eg., white anglo-saxon protestant Americans.

  9. August 12, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    @ Chris, It’s nothing to do with philosophy, only simple logic. Try to explain where choice came from, it’s not possible if you accept evolution. I only use quotes from well known people to show that many have come to the same conclusion.

  10. RDW
    August 12, 2013 at 5:55 AM

    Thirty-four years seems sort of light for a crime that shows a lot of premeditation and was extremely brutal. Prison isn’t to rehabilitate as much as to punish someone for their actions and to keep them away from people so that they can’t repeat their crimes.

  11. Chris
    August 12, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    zhu bajie:

    I doubt they are more criminal than, eg.

    Which is why blaming her Romani background did not make any kind of defense. Especially since her extended family wants nothing to do with her. There may be a case for blaming the individuals who raised her to be illiterate in an environment of domestic violence and crime.

  12. One Eyed Jack
    August 13, 2013 at 9:42 PM


    Don’t waste your time with Michael. He’s just spinning his tired deterministic schtick, again. … Nobody is responsible for anything because we’re all just part of some elaborate cause and effect machine. It’s a bankrupt philosophy that negates personal responsibility.

    By his logic, I could rob him at gunpoint and it wouldn’t be my fault, just an outcome of cause and effect. You know, I could use a new set of patio furniture…

  13. August 14, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    @Jack and Chris,
    You are correct I don’t accept that choice exists, but at least I’m getting a reaction from you. If everyone on this blog agreed, what would be the point of it?

  14. August 14, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    The point of this blog is stated under the “about” section in the menu. It’s not really for debate. There are better forums for that. This is for discussion of the news story and additional information regarding it to provide the public with a more rational take.

  15. Chris
    August 14, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    One Eyed Jack, this Chris ignored him because he does not make any sense.

    In short, Ms. Nicholas’ excuses were just that: excuses. She lied, stole and murdered. She has no one to blame but herself. Perhaps she will actually learn how to read during the few decades in prison.

    Her story is just one more reason to avoid self proclaimed “psychics.”

  16. August 15, 2013 at 3:07 AM

    I accept your instructions, I will restrict my comments to matters that I hope are constructive. I realise that the vast majority of people live their lives believing things that are not true. However I don’t like to find fault with those people as, in my world, everyone just happens to be the the way they are.

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