Utah Ex-Con Charged with Gruesome Murder in Washington

An ex-con who had served time in a Utah State Prison was charged with the gruesome murder of a Washington State woman last Monday.

Murder and dismemberment


Photo by: tdlucas5000

37 year old John Robert Charlton was charged with the murder of Ingrid Lyne of Renton, Washington after police discovered portions of the woman’s dismembered body in a recycle bin in Seattle. The 40 year old nurse and mother of three daughters had been on a date with Charlton to a Mariner’s baseball game over the weekend but hadn’t been heard of since. When police located the body parts including a head and then received information of the missing woman, they realized the cases were connected and arrested Charlton for murder. More of Lyne’s body parts were then located as well as a saw which was believed to be the tool used to dismember her body.

Was the murder preventable?

When a horrible act is committed, many people may wonder if there was any way the crime could have been prevented. Sometimes crimes catch everyone by surprise, even those closest to the accused. Regarding the murder of Ingrid Lyne however, there are various details in John Charlton’s past that may have been red flags. While these warnings were regrettably not known to Lyne, they might have been recognized by law enforcement and those who have had their own personal dealings with Charlton.

Criminal history

Photo by: Victor

Photo by: Victor

The murder of Ingrid Lyne wasn’t Charlton’s first run in with the law. Prior to Lyne’s murder, in Washington State Charlton had been charged with assault in 1997 and negligent driving in 1998. In 2006, Charlton was convicted and sentenced to 1 to 15 years in the Utah State Prison for felony attempted aggravated robbery. Of that sentence, Charlton served just shy of 2 years before he was released by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole without the supervision of parole officer. Some claim this lack of supervision may have contributed to him being arrested again in 2009 for misdemeanor battery in Idaho and then felony theft in Montana the same year. In Montana he again served time in prison; this time no more than 5 years. There is no information available at this time regarding whether or not Charlton was under the supervision of a Montana parole officer; however some critics of the parole system are doubtful.

Mental uncertainty

Charlton not only had a history of crime, but he also showed signs of being mentally unstable and possibly dangerous as long as 10 years ago. Prior to his arrest in Utah in 2006, Charlton made unsettling threats to his parents at their home south of Seattle. He showed them a copy of the gruesome movie “Hannibal” and eerily cautioned his mom while referencing to it. He also told his parents that he was having a hard time dealing with life and he was questioning his mental stability. Charlton’s parents were so troubled by this encounter with their son that they went as far as to file a restraining order against him although they later dropped it.

Help for the troubled

Photo by: trizoultro

Photo by: trizoultro

While the thought is plausible, it will never be known for sure if the murder of Ingrid Lyne could have been prevented. While many friends or family members may be surprised when someone close to them commits a heinous act, this is one case when there was a growing concern long before multiple lives were changed forever. For those who are in and out of the court systems for various crimes or for those who have anger management issues, alcohol and drug abuse problems, or other mental health concerns, there is help available. Please seek counsel with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney regarding criminal charges and they can also provide you with information regarding mental health services in your area.

Mass Incarceration of Drug Trafficking Offenders

An end may be in sight for the United States’ issue with mass incarceration of drug trafficking offenders as thousands of federal inmates were released over the weekend.

Over 6,000 inmates released early

Photo by: Sam Villaroman

Photo by: Sam Villaroman

Around 6,100 drug trafficking offenders around the United States were released this weekend from federal prisons. This may appear as though the U.S. Sentencing Commission is making strides in reducing the mass incarceration of drug trafficking offenders; however most of these inmates were already on the final leg of their sentencing with the majority having already been released to halfway homes. Others who were not U.S. citizens were released into the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) only to await being deported. While this may have been just a small step, the U.S. Sentencing Commission plans on taking more by granting early release to another 16,500 more drug trafficking offenders within the next year. Optimistically, this early release program will have positive results and will eventually lessen the mass incarceration levels of drug trafficking offenders in all federal prisons.

More than 2 million behind bars

Currently the United States averages over 2 million inmates housed in both jails and prisons around the nation, the largest amount of inmates than any other country in the world. While several offenders are imprisoned for violent crimes or repeat offenses, there is a large amount of inmates who are serving time for drug offenses. According to the Special Report issued last month by the U.S. Department of Justice: Since 1994 nearly 182,000 new offenders have been sentenced to Federal prisons. Out of those, 52% were drug trafficking offenders. More than half of the nation’s federal prison inmates are sitting behind bars for nothing more than drugs.

War on drugs & extreme penalties

The war on drugs was officially declared in the early 1970’s, although it didn’t pick up speed until well into the 80’s when the Drug Enforcement Administration was founded. With the cracking down on drugs and the harsh penalties that followed, the amount of people incarcerated for drug crimes since then has skyrocketed. Not only are more individuals facing jail or prison time for drugs; the penalties for possession, distribution, and drug trafficking offenders are extreme. For example, the DEA states that penalties for drug trafficking offenders who have a quantity of more than 500 grams but less than 5 kilograms of cocaine will face “not less than 5 years and not more than 40 years.” Those convicted a second time, or those arrested with more than 5 kilos are facing “not less than 10 years and not more than life.” Anywhere from 5 years to life for drug trafficking offenders is outrageous and something is finally being done about it, even if there are other incentives for releasing inmates early.

Ulterior Motive

While claiming that reducing the harshness of penalties for drug trafficking offenders is a priority, the U.S. Sentencing Commission has other motives for releasing drug offenders early.

• According to the Sensible Sentencing Reform: The 2014 Reduction of Drug Sentences Policy Profile, “Congress directed the Commission […] to “minimize the likelihood that the Federal prison population will exceed the capacity of the Federal Prisons.”

• Stated elsewhere on this policy profile the Commission adds that this program “could save close to 80,000 prison bed years over time.”

• Additionally, “The BOP budget is well over $6 billion, accounting for 25% of DOJ’s total budget.”

Regardless of the motive, most of the public are in favor of reduced sentencing for drug trafficking offenders and see the change in Federal sentencing procedures as a positive step in the right direction. For more information on the reduction of drug sentences, and how it might affect those facing new charges in the future, contact a criminal defense attorney today.