Emil and Rodica Radita were convicted of first-degree murder two years ago in the death of their 15-year-old son, Alexandru.
Alberta’s top court has upheld the murder convictions of a Calgary couple in the starvation-related death of their teenage son.In a unanimous decision released Thursday, a three-member Alberta Court of Appeal panel rejected arguments from defence lawyers Andrea Serink and Alias Sanders that the couple should only have been convicted of manslaughter.Emil and Rodica Radita were convicted of first-degree murder two years ago in the death of their 15-year-old son, Alexandru.The boy succumbed to bacterial sepsis related to starvation on May 7, 2013, inside his parents’ Citadel home.The appeal judges said Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Karen Horner did not err when she ruled the couple had the intent to commit murder when they grossly neglected Alexandru until his death and had him confined at the time.Since it was a murder committed during a confinement, they were guilty of first-degree murder.“Given our findings on murder committed during an unlawful confinement, we will not address the appellants’ grounds of appeal that relate to the trial judge’s finding that the appellants were also guilty of first-degree murder . . . because the murder was planned and deliberate,” the appeal judges wrote.Horner ruled Feb. 24, 2017, that the parents intentionally neglected the boy for years until his body finally gave out.“Your actions in starving your son Alex to death are beyond comprehension,” Horner said, in ordering the couple to each serve a minimum 25 years without parole.Emil, now 62, and Rodica, 56, showed no outward emotion at the time as Horner found they had effectively planned and deliberated their son’s death by failing to get him life-saving medical attention. Horner also said the boy was intentionally confined by his parents through his isolation, which would also make them guilty of first-degree murder.“You persisted in ongoing conduct,” Horner said.“You persisted until he was dead.”She rejected submissions by defence lawyers Serink and Jim Lutz that the parents were only guilty of manslaughter by incompetently managing their son’s diabetes and being unable to ascertain the significant risk his illness caused him.Horner said the parents’ conduct amounted to much more.
Alexandru Radita died in 2013 of starvation and lack of treatment for his diabetes.
THE CANADIAN PRESS
“The Raditas were well aware how ill Alex was and still refused to treat his medical condition with proper insulin protocol and medical care,” she said. “They knew he was dying.” He said the couple were aware death would be the ultimate consequence of their refusal to get him proper medical care.“Alex’s extremely emaciated state was clearly, common sensibly, the result of a prolonged period of malnutrition,” Horner said.The boy weighed only 37 pounds and was “emaciated to the point where he appeared mummified” when found dead.She described the scene that greeted paramedic Deborah Baumback when she arrived at the Raditas’ Citadel home.“His face had no visible flesh left as she could see every bone in his face,” the judge said.“There was nothing left of his stomach as he was just so skinny.”KMartin@postmedia.comOn Twitter: @KMartinCourts