… in the pursuit of justice, we must undertake at least something of a sympathetic journey into the mind of the accused, to consider the circumstances under which he committed the act. We quite rightly do not view the actions of a woman who plotted and carried out the murder of her husband in cold blood to get insurance money with the same degree of sympathy as we do the battered wife who finally has enough of it, and murders her abusive husband in his sleep. The banker who embezzles $10 million is not in the same category as the man who robs a gas station to feed his family. And so forth.
One must take into consideration mitigating circumstances, of course. But murder is murder — i.e., the unlawful taking of a life, even if the life is that of dirt bag. There is sentimentality at work here. And sentimentality is emotion out of proportion to what a situation calls for.