He was awaiting trial on the charges of sexual molestation of a child. Our constitution and our justice system assures an assumption of innocence until guilt is proven. Therefore, David Piersol, 39, died an innocent man on April 11 at the Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton Ohio after receiving his life-threatening injuries in the TriCounty Regional Jail in Mechanicsburg, Ohio, on April 5, 2014, while under the “protection” of the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.
Mr. Piersol’s death comes midst an unacknowledged wave of vigilante attacks that are often made possible by public sex offender registries, as well as by politicians and media reportage that give license to vengeance. Every story about the incident that has a comment board is filled with vigilante remarks such as, “KARMA!!! He got what he deserved…” and “I have no pity on this piece of trash.”
The WHIO Facebook page, under the article about his death, garnered this as a comment: “Tax payer money savings plan.” And a person claiming to be a “deputy sheriff of 30 years” said in reply to someone who pointed out that he had not been convicted, “Take off those rose colored glasses and recognize that he got what he deserved.”
Vigilante action against registrants has blasted its way through many years, aided by the ready access of the public sex offender registry, through horrendous murders years after the conclusion of a sentence, vicious and cowardly attacks, and even over the radio waves where popular talk-show hosts delight in the death of a registrant who burned to death in a house fire.
But Mr. Piersol was not a target to be tracked down by a killer using the public registry as a road map. He was under the custody and protection of law enforcement.
RSOL asks for Ohio elected officials to condemn this terrible death. Those responsible–including officials who may have improperly placed this man in general population–must be brought to justice. We call for a thorough investigation conducted by authorities completely independent of the Champaign and Union County criminal justice systems.