The response Monday to Donna Brown's sentencing in federal court was overwhelming. Many expressed disbelief via social media to the seemingly short 10 year prison sentence given to the woman who scammed her victims out of millions of dollars.
Those victims' lives have been changed forever.
And honestly, we can't begin to imagine the way Brown's victims must be feeling. According to U.S. District Court Judge Frederick P. Stamp, inheritances are gone, along with hopes of higher education. That isn't the worst either. Judge Stamp also noted that some victims have gone without food to eat as a result of Brown's absolute evil actions.
Despite justice being served, the punishment - as with most crimes - may not seem like quite enough.
We can't be armchair lawyers and judges though.
Through our own coverage, we know the time and effort that the professionals, such as attorneys and investigators, put into this case is unimaginable. Frankly, to be critical of them is extremely unfair. We know that months ago, Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught adamantly encouraged victims to submit their statements to Judge Stamp, so that Stamp might consider them in sentencing.
Let's not allow our anger to be misdirected.
Judge Stamp stated that Brown's sentence is "the absolute top of the advisory federal sentencing guidelines," and that he chose the maximum amount per charge because of the seriousness of the offense, along with the harm to Brown's victims.
We should trust the judge's - the expert's - word.
Donna Brown has had her day in court. Justice was served. Now we hope that life can go on as best as it can for those whose lives she destroyed.
And as for Brown, she appears to have several long years ahead of her to think about each and every one of those lives.