June 23, 2000 12:43 PM Subscribe
Justice Philip Cummins looked down at the two clean-cut young men in the dock as they sat close together on a long, leather bench. He condemned the brief, severe assault that caused Hibbins' death. He said their actions could not be justified as a citizen's arrest of a suspect because they punished Hibbins instead of apprehending him. However, he said, they were not vigilantes because their conduct was not premeditated. Instead it occurred because of an unplanned upsurge of emotion in both men. The judge said their behavior belonged in the least culpable category of manslaughter because they were decent young men who entered the park not looking for trouble, who reasonably believed a woman had been raped and who were then caught up in a perverse confluence of events for which they were truly sorry.