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1 William Barnett-Lewis  Thu, May 9, 2013 5:56:55am

I really do not understand why these parents are not facing 1st degree murder charges. There is no real difference between what they did and placing a gun against their child head and pulling the trigger.

2 Altermite  Thu, May 9, 2013 6:35:36am

Because first degree murder isn’t appropriate. This is heinous, but isn’t the same as taking a gun and shooting somebody to kill it. PA expressly defines first degree as intentionally and willfully causing the death of another in a premeditated fashion. The most appropriate charges would be involuntary manslaughter or possibly murder in the third degree.

The standard is recklessness/gross negligence vs. gross recklessnessness. Normally gross recklessness is hard to prove in this sort of case, but if he was charged with the previous death, then it should be much more likely.


Note: I’m not an attorney.

3 aagcobb  Thu, May 9, 2013 7:39:21am

re: #1 William Barnett-Lewis

I really do not understand why these parents are not facing 1st degree murder charges. There is no real difference between what they did and placing a gun against their child head and pulling the trigger.

Intent is an issue; they didn’t act with the intent to cause the child’s death because they thought the magical sky daddy would save him. If convicted of manslaughter or murder, they should definitely go to prison and their parental rights to the rest of their children terminated. If there is evidence that the evil pastor of their church told them not to take Brandon to a doctor when he fell ill, he should be prosecuted as well.

4 William Barnett-Lewis  Thu, May 9, 2013 10:59:50am

I would argue that they showed intent by ignoring the directives of the court. At the very least that shows depraved indifference.

5 aagcobb  Thu, May 9, 2013 11:30:36am

re: #4 William Barnett-Lewis

I would argue that they showed intent by ignoring the directives of the court. At the very least that shows depraved indifference.

That sounds reasonable, if you are sane like you and I. But these people weren’t indifferent; they believed their fervent prayers to magical sky daddy was a better response on behalf of their child than taking him to the doctor. That is why, while I believe they should go to prison, a 1st degree murder conviction would be difficult to obtain. Now if there was evidence of an ulterior motive, like a purchase of a large life insurance policy on Brandon, you’d have a difference case.


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