The Star-News


And justice for all?

Sat, Dec 11 2010 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

Arguably one of the most glaring differences between Chelsea King, 17, and Diana Gonzalez, 19, is name recognition.

King, as a lot of people in San Diego County can tell you, is the young North County high school student who earlier this year was killed by John Gardner III.

I counted roughly 77 stories about Chelsea found on signonsandiego.com, The Union-Tribune's online publication. To be fair, some of those stories may have been updates of older stories (new information added to an older post, a changed lede), and one or two of them may have been opinion pieces. But all in all, if you're betting there have been dozens of news stories about Chelsea's death you'd be a winner.

You're a loser if you wagered there were just as many articles about Diana's murder. Last I counted there were five news stories from the U-T. Five. The only coverage more woefully inadequate than that was ours.

We've run one opinion column and one news story. (In our defense, however, our news department consists of one reporter, one editor and the occasional freelance writer.)

Maybe the disparity in coverage rests in the fact that police arrested Gardner within days of Chelsea's death and the district attorney was able to bring him to trial.

In Diana's case, while District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis' office has charged Diana's estranged husband Armando Perez with murder, the suspect remains at large in Mexico. Hence, no trial and, presumably, no 'round the clock news coverage as we saw with King.

Another difference between King and Gonzalez is an uncomfortable one to acknowledge.

Chelsea was a white high school kid who grew up in Poway. Diana was a Latina living in National City at the time of her death. She was a battered mother of a 10-month-old and a community college student.

Do skin color or affluence play a role in the amount of attention and coverage murder victims receive? You tell me.

Keep in mind that tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the death of Maribel Arteaga.

And eight years after he disappeared we still don't know what happened to Jahi Turner.

Who are they?

Would you be asking that question if I mentioned Stephanie Crowe, Danielle van Dam and Amber Dubois?

All murders are tragic. It appears, however, some are more memorable and noteworthy than others. Why?

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