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    letters | verdict in fijuta trial

    Too severe a sentence for a teen struggling with mental health

    I’m uneasy with the Nathaniel Fujita sentence (“In a courtroom steeped in sorrow, verdict is guilty,” Page A1, March 8). It was the most severe available, which should be reserved for someone who is 100 percent responsible for his crime. In this situation, Fujita seems to fall somewhat short of that.

    Fujita appears to have been struck by some sort of mental health issue at an age when many young people are. Can we really expect him, at 18 years old, and his family to have recognized the severity of his problem and fully addressed it? Attributing full agency to such a young man who appears to have been suffering from depression speaks to society’s continuing reluctance to think of mental illness as a true illness that can visit anyone.

    To me, his circumstance makes him somewhat less responsible for his actions in this horrible crime, and his sentence should reflect that.

    Sarah Lawson