I’ve always wondered about the “being a persistent felon” aspect of law-enforcement. I’m looking at today’s Courier-Journal, which has a story on Mel Ignatow. A little background: Mel Ignatow killed Brenda Sue Schaefer in 1988. He testified before a grand jury that he had nothing to do with her death, and was axquitted for lack of evidence. He subsequently admitted that he did, in fact, kill her.
In 1992, evidence came to light to support this. He was then sentenced to five years in a federal prison for perjury. Upon his release in 1997, he was then charged with perjury on a state level, and “being a persistent felon.” He was convicted, and sentenced to nine years in prison for these charges.
According to everything I have read, Ignatow had no prior criminal history before this killing. If both perjury instances happened at the same occasion (lying to the state and federal grand juries), how does this particular instance qualify as a “persistent felon?” What criteria is used to determine whether someone is a persistent felon?