On Oct. 27, 1989, the body of Modesto Real Estate agent Dorothy Greene was found in Lake Tahoe by anglers.
She’d been shot once in the head after being lured to an empty house for sale by someone claiming to be a buyer.
It turns out that “buyer” was John Alden Colwell, 67, who is back in the news this week because a federal jury will determine if taxpayers in the State of Nevada should pay for surgery to correct the cataracts in his other eye.
Colwell was convicted in Douglas County in 1991 and sentenced to life in prison. He narrowly avoided the death penalty.
The motive for the crime was greed. After obtaining Greene’s personal information, he went to a Carson City bank, made a withdrawal and then visited a brothel with the murdered woman’s money.
Colwell had cataract surgery on one eye in 2001, but lost his sight in the other. The policy of Nevada’s prisons is that an inmate only requires one good eye.
This was an instance where the biblical concept of “an eye for an eye” would have been well justified.
That Colwell is still alive is a measure of mercy he didn’t show Dorothy Greene. That he has one good eye is one more than he left her when he pulled the trigger.
We hope that federal jurors recognize that Colwell is lucky to be alive at all, and recognize that one good eye is sufficient for him to contemplate the life he snuffed out nearly 25 years ago.