Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Christian Prince Murder at Yale, 1992: Back Before the Racist Black Slaughter of White College Students Became Normal


Christian Haley Prince at Yale, circa 1990

By Nicholas Stix

The most striking thing about the following New York Times article, is that it actually quotes the racist black killer, James Duncan “Dunc” Fleming, as saying “cracker,” both in planning to rob a white, and then, “I ought to shoot this cracker,” just before he murdered Christian Haley Prince. Today, those essential words would have been censored by the Times, and possibly, even by the authorities. Note that a detective did not record one of the Knoxville Horror suspects, George Thomas, saying of rape-murder victim Channon Christian, “Fuck that white girl,” and Knoxville and Knox County authorities’ lying about the crime’s racial motivations.

In other cases, police and prosecutors alike seem to avoid asking any questions that might bring out racial motivations.

Otherwise, the article is liberal boilerplate, in its treatment of the killer, and writer’s liberal use of racial non sequiturs and red herrings. ‘He was a victim of society [racism!] who had no opportunities, as opposed to the Golden Boy victim, and many more blacks are being killed than Yale students.’

Note too that the victim’s mother, Sally Prince, used to do charity work in Washington D.C.’s black slums, but had to quit, when it became too dangerous. That means that she had already seen and experienced black racism. And yet, she clings to her liberal talking points: “We are so terribly aware that these children have no chance in life.” [Mrs. Prince was the liberal, and Mr. Prince was a Republican, but in some ways, they seemed to converge politically, after their son’s murder.]

A 16-year-old killer is not a child and, of course, he did have chances in life. He chose to throw them away.

And there is the false parallel and misleading talk of randomness of the title: “Son of Privilege, Son of Pain: Random Death at Yale’s Gates.” A more honest title would have been “Evil Triumphs Over Good in Racially-Motivated Murder.”

I provide a running commentary.

Son of Privilege, Son of Pain: Random Death at Yale's Gates
By Jon Nordheimer
June 28, 1992
New York Times

When the trial in the slaying of Christian Prince on the Yale campus ended late last month and the courtroom emptied, few of the central figures were satisfied with the outcome, not even the jurors who had handed down a mixed verdict in a case that had cut this city and the university to the bone.

The family of James Duncan Fleming, the 17-year-old defendant, expressed relief that he was acquitted on a charge that he intentionally murdered Mr. Prince in the early morning hours of Feb. 17, 1991, but expressed sadness that he had been found guilty of conspiring to rob the 19-year old Yale sophomore. "I wish they hadn't found him guilty on any count," the accused man's father, James Fleming Sr., said. "My family and I want him home."

[So much for an expression of remorse!]

Not Their Tragedy Alone

The family of the victim was not consoled by a verdict that left unanswered the question of who killed their son, even though the prosecutor said the defendant would be retried on two charges the jury deadlocked on: felony murder and robbery.

[He was acquitted on those charges, too, by another racist, black jury.]

As profound as their sense of loss is -- "It makes you question if there is a loving God," says Sally Prince, Christian's mother -- the Princes see the chain of events that brought the two young men into fateful collision as not their tragedy alone.
It was also a tragedy, they say, for the Flemings, who struggled to raise a son in circumstances where drugs, guns and early violent death are routine.

"We are so terribly aware," Mrs. Prince says with a voice that still breaks slightly when she speaks her son's name, "that these children have no chance in life."

Indeed, despite the image conveyed by the turrets and terra-cotta trim of Yale's neo-Gothic towers, James Fleming grew up in a city whose per capita murder rate has been as high in recent years as New York's and whose minority population is constantly struggling under the weight of joblessness and drugs and the rattle of gunfire.

Most of the shootings have been black-on-black violence, clashes between warring drug dealers and gangs like the one in recent weeks that sent a bullet into the brain of a 6-year-old on a school bus caught in the crossfire.

A Bright Future Meets a Dim One

Rarely, though, does the violence spill over into the Yale campus the way it did the night Christian Prince died.

The paths that brought the victim and the accused into collision the accused began in opposite poles of American life. [Fleming is either the killer, or he never collided with Prince. It’s “the victim and killer.” Otherwise, you have to rewrite the sentence, and ditch the “collision” image.] One youth approached adulthood with a bright future filled with attractive options. The other, despite his parents' hopes, had scant reason to believe he could look forward to any but a narrow band of choices in life.

[Wrong. James Duncan Fleming chose the gangster’s life, just as he chose to murder Christian Haley Prince.]

Christian Prince was a son of privilege.

He grew up in the upper-middle-class terraces of Chevy Chase, Md., his father a prominent lawyer in Washington and a tennis partner of George Bush when Mr. Bush was Vice President. Four generations of the Prince family attended Yale.
Christian Prince's father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all graduates; his sister, Jackie, 29, studied chemical engineering as an undergraduate at Yale and later earned a master's degree in environmental science. His brother, Edward Jr., 26, graduated from Yale and is studying environmental law at Duke.

The Victim: Almost Too Good To Be True

Christian, the youngest child, was almost too good to be true in a cynical age when the Frank Merriwells or Dink Stovers, fictional Yale heroes serialized early in the century, are seen as laughable hollow men rather than role models. His name, his blond good looks and trim 6-foot-2 athletic frame seemed to strain reality.

"He was what everyone has in mind when they think of a son," said James Adams, assistant headmaster at the Lawrenceville School, the elite boarding school near Princeton, N.J., where Christian spent three years before graduating in 1989. At Lawrenceville, he was an honors student, vice president of the student body, house president and captain of the football and lacrosse teams.

"He was the kindest guy I've ever met," recalled James Kuser, a roommate at Lawrenceville who is now a senior at Notre Dame University. "He never forced himself on others. They chose to come to him."

Walking a Thornier Path

James Fleming -- "Dunc" to his teen-age friends on the bleak side streets of New Haven -- walked a thornier path.

His family moved here in 1978, four years after he was born in Baltimore, and settled in a section called New hallville. James Sr. took a job as a security guard for a drug store chain.

Decades ago, Newhallville was the neighborhood of choice for many of the 17,000 workers who toiled in the gun factories of Winchester Repeating Arms Company, Colt, Savage and Remington. The plant managers and owners and city merchants raised their Victorian mansions on the heights above Newhallville, on tree-lined avenues named Prospect and Hillhouse, structures eventually acquired by Yale for its expansion.

Blacks had first settled in New Haven in a district west of the university called Dixwell, working as waiters and porters on campus. Beginning with World War II, waves of blacks were drawn to the city from the Carolinas to take jobs paying good wages in the arms factories, moving into a section called the Hill, southwest of Yale, jamming into Dixwell and spilling over into Newhallville as whites left for the suburbs.

The jobs soon joined the exodus.

[Note the Times’ racial subtext: The whites fled, and took the jobs with them. Not, the blacks came, and robbed, raped, maimed and murdered whites, so that whites had to leave, in order to save their families, and that the hellhole the blacks created made it foolish to keep a factory there.]

Yale Surrounded by Slide

By the time the Flemings moved into a three-family house on Winchester Avenue, a street that ran to the gun plant, the old factories were shutting down and the city around Yale was in decline.

Urban renewal and hopeful Government programs like Model Cities did not halt the slide, though Yale, with 11,000 students and 700 faculty members today, remained a major force in the city, largely insulated from the social changes outside its gates. By 1980, the black population in the city reached 40,000, one in three residents. [Meanwhile, the once lily-white city’s population had dropped by almost 25 percent.]

Only occasionally [dubious] does the violence reach out of doleful black neighborhoods like Newhallville to touch a student. In fact, James Fleming Jr. was only four weeks old when the last Yale student was murdered on campus in 1974.

But young black men in New Haven have been dying from gunshot wounds at a rate of about three a month, a statistic that youths in the black neighborhoods here know first hand.

[So, are whites killing them? The reporter insinuates that whites have nothing to complain about, because black have it so worse. But the blacks are entirely responsible for the violence. No white is harming them.]

"It'll never get any better, man," said a black 16-year old who identified himself only as Scarface. "When you die and go to heaven that's the only place it'll be better. This is hell now."

The Suspect: A Troubled World Outside the Door

James Fleming Sr. can see the despair out his front door. "What we have now is a lot of young men on the streets with nothing to do with their time and nothing to lose," said Mr. Fleming, a spare 49-year-old man with a friendly way who lost the sight of one eye to diabetes, and walks on crutches because of an ulcerated foot. He has been unemployed and on public disability income since 1985. His wife, Julia, has suffered a heart attack. Tanya, a 19-year old daughter who lives at home, is unmarried and has two children of her own.

Mr. Fleming said his son was average in nearly all the ways Mr. Prince had excelled.

James was "a slow learner" [that’s “average”?] in courses like science, Mr. Fleming said. "I forget what his I.Q. was, but it was enough to pass most classes." His main interests were the ones available: watching television and playing pick-up games of basketball.

Yet he was luckier than most boys his age, said Frank Ionnotti, his court-appointed lawyer; unlike many other inner-city children, he came from an intact two-parent family.

"I tried to be a strict father till he grew up," recalled James Fleming Sr. Until 1991, Mr. Fleming said, "The only trouble he got into with the police was when he was 14 and broke a window in a parked car."

[Was that due to an accident, vandalism, or a burglary attempt?]

Brandy Stingers at 16

But parents at home were not enough to overcome the influences outside the door of the Fleming home. One door away is the Oasis Lounge, a late-night hangout where, said a few friends, James Fleming was drinking brandy stingers the night that Mr. Prince was killed. The accused was barely 16 at the time.

[He chose his influences.]

Further along Winchester is the Mudhole, nothing more than an empty lot with broken bottles and other detritus of a worn urban block. Drug dealers congregate there. The night is often split by the crack of shots fired by rival gangs or by offended parties in a drug deal gone sour. The police said James Fleming ran with two street gangs, one called Ville and the other called the Lynch mob.

"BMW's, Volvos, Mercedeses, that's the values of those boys," Mr. Fleming said more in sadness than anger. "Jewelry. Gold. Clothes. That's what the average kid in Newhallville dreams of. Not just James. Any kid is fascinated by big money.

"I'd say to him, James you have to finish school, you must get an education. You can't start at the top. I'd try to instill in him he had to take care of himself because no one else would.

[“Why we can’t wait.”]

"But even though I tried to be very strict, when your child leaves the house you don't know what he is up to."

Dreams: A Desire to Change Parts of Society

Christian Prince arrived in Yale in the fall of 1989, just back from weeks of rigorous back-country canoeing on James Bay in Canada. His friends say he had been touched by concern over the building of a hydroelectric plant there and its impact on the Cree Indians.

Diana Montgomery, a Yale senior from New York and a close friend, recalls catching sight of him in the first days of the semester in Old Campus, where all freshmen live.

"The other boys were doing the talking and being cool but Christian was hanging back," Ms. Montgomery said. "But you could sense there was a lot to him beside the obvious fact he was very good looking."

The next spring he made the varsity lacrosse team, a feat for a freshman, and the team reached the semifinals of the N.C.A.A. playoffs. That summer he went to Fort Smith, Ark., with a Yale classmate, Lawrence Deas, to work in a warehouse owned by Mr. Deas's family.

"We were in charge of a work crew of 10 men, black and white," Mr. Deas said. "It was a hot, dirty job, and there was no difference between us and the wage workers. We competed to see who could move the heaviest pieces of furniture."

[“No difference,” except you were the bosses, and they were the underlings. Otherwise, everyone was the same.]

There was ample time over the summer weeks to share each other's thoughts.

"Christian was thinking about going to law school but not practicing it," Mr. Deas recalled. "He thought about getting into the political sphere in some capacity, not necessarily running for office. He said he had this real desire to change some parts of society."

Christian, Ms. Montgomery said, never smoked marijuana. Asked why, he joked, "Who knows; maybe one day I might want to run for President."

Death: “I Ought to Shoot This Cracker”

On Saturday night, Feb. 16, Christian Prince and James Fleming were at separate parties about one half-mile apart.

According to a statement given to the police three months later by Randy Fleming, a 17-year old Newhallville resident who is not related to James Fleming, the two were drinking at the Oasis Lounge and wanted money to attend a rap performance.
James Fleming, the other teen-ager stated, suggested they "stick up a cracker," a street word used to refer disparagingly to whites.

A 15-year-old witness testified at the Fleming trial that the defendant asked another neighborhood man for "jammies," slang for handguns. The man went to his apartment and returned several minutes later with a .25-caliber semiautomatic and a .22-caliber revolver. The two Flemings hopped into a white Nissan with two other teen-agers identified only as "Rob" and "Thumbhead."

According to the statement the time was nearing 1 A.M.

Christian Prince had been to Mory's, the celebrated drinking and dining club, earlier that evening and went on with friends to birthday party held in the Aurelian Club in the sandstone building dominated by Sterling Tower, a campus landmark.
The party ended at 1 A.M., and Mr. Prince's friends headed off to get pizza. He declined. He had lacrosse practice in the morning.

He walked east toward his apartment three blocks away.

The Pop of a Gun

Randy Fleming told the police that James Fleming, the driver of the Nissan, spied a man walking alone on Hillhouse, a block from the official residence of the Yale president, Benno C. Schmidt Jr. He stopped the car, got out with a pistol, and demanded the man's wallet.

Randy Fleming testified that the man handed over his wallet without resistance and that James Fleming pistol-whipped him across the forehead, saying aloud, "I ought to shoot this cracker." The next thing he heard, Randy Fleming recalled, was the pop of a gun. The time, the police estimated, was 1:10.

Several minutes later a student on her way to the Yale Health Center at 17 Hillhouse saw a man lying on his back, his arms spread out, at the base of the steps to St. Mary's Church, like a religious supplicant. It was Mr. Prince.

He was declared dead at 2:05, a single bullet having pierced his heart.

Across the street from the church the police found his wallet on the ground. It still contained $46 and credit cards. Apparently his killer had dropped it in the dash to get away.

The Present Anger at Possibility Race Was Motive

Ted Prince did what he felt he had to do. Within weeks he was on Capitol Hill testifying in favor of the Brady bill, which seeks to set a waiting period for anyone purchasing a gun. Fifteen months after he testified, the bill is still not passed.

[And how on earth would the Brady Bill have prevented a killing by someone using an illegal weapon? The father was a Republican, and yet he still reacted to his son’s racially-motivated murder the same way as a privileged socialist, by calling for making it harder for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves form the James Duncan Flemings of the world.]

Sally Prince, who for years did volunteer work in Washington's inner city before she felt it was too unsafe to continue, sought vainly for a positive outlet for her grief. But the size of America's social ills defeats her.

[The depths of black racism, is more like it.]

"I am not going to make an enormous difference," she ruefully concluded.

Everyone struggled to hold back anger. In their minds the crime was a wanton act that reinforced the maxims of wary city dwellers who must calculate safe passages through nighttime streets, chancing "being in the wrong place at the wrong time" against the daily demands of active lives.

Haunting Question of Bias

Jackie Prince, Christian's sister, gave voice to the question that haunted everyone.
"What went through the mind of the person when he decided to pull the trigger," she asked. "Was it because they were from worlds set so far apart? Was it impulsive? Drugs? Bravado?"

[You know exactly what it was, lady: Racism.]

What no one could accept was the suspicion that Christian Prince had walked blindly into not just a robbery but a situation that had all the earmarks of a bias crime -- that Mr. Prince had become a victim because he was white.

"Of all the elements in this tragedy this was the most troubling," Mr. Deas said. "In all our private talks about race, public schools, social programs and effective ways to bring about change, there was never anything but sympathy for the underprivileged in Christian's mind."

The Prince investigation proceeded slowly until Randy Fleming was arrested in May 1991 on an unrelated matter and told the police, in a 20-minute taped statement, which he later recanted, that he had witnessed the crime and that James Fleming spoke the lacerating words, "I ought to shoot this cracker." Mr. Fleming's lawyer argued at the trial that had the statement been uttered at all, Randy Fleming would have been too far away to hear it distinctly.

[So, why wasn’t Randy Fleming prosecuted? Either he lied to the police, or he perjured himself and committed obstruction of justice, and/or was an accessory to murder. Either way, he committed a crime.]

James Fleming, who had been arrested in March 1991 on an unrelated car theft and referred to a drug program, was taken into custody May 16, a day coincidentially [sic] when the fifth black homicide victim in nine days was shot to death in the city. [That’s irrelevant, a non sequitur, and a pathetic attempt to muddy the waters!] Randy Fleming's refusal at last month's trial to cooperate as a prosecution witness plus the inability to conclusively match the damaged slug that killed Mr. Prince with a .22-caliber pistol linked by testimony to the defendant, weakened the prosecution's case.

Street With No Summer Break

Since the trial ended, the Yale campus has settled into its light summer schedule. Most of the students are traveling, working or engaged in some other pursuit until the fall.

The streets and corners of Newhallville, Dixwell and the Hill know no summer break. The bar at the Oasis Lounge is crowded with bodies and the thump of rap music urging street justice. [“Street justice” for whom? Christian Prince? This is yet more mischief form the writer.] The juke joints and pool halls and danger zones like the Mudhole are knotted with young men with no work to do, going nowhere and not quite knowing where to place the blame. [They have no interest in working, are unemployable, and know exactly where to place the blame: On whitey!]

The sentencing of James Fleming, who faces a maximum of 20 years, is set for July 17 on the conviction of conspiracy to rob. His retrial on murder and robbery charges will probably not start until late this year. His father will be there.

But Ted Prince is unsure he can bring himself to return to New Haven, to walk in the shadows of Yale's spires and turrets, and to hear once again the facts of his son's death.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago, John Derbyshire was fired by National Review and vilified for an article he wrote. One thing Drbyshire wrote was that you should stay out of black neighborhoods.

What nobody pointed out was that black on white murders usually take place where the victims thought they were safe. Sometimes (Anne Pressly), the victims are literally in their own beds. College campuses, as in the Prince murder, are favorite hunting grounds for predators, Eve Carson and Lauren Burk for instance.

David In TN