Calgary couple found guilty in death of teenage son
Published Friday, February 24, 2017 8:20AM MST Last Updated Friday, February 24, 2017 6:28PM MST
Emil and Rodica Radita have been found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of their son from starvation and untreated diabetes in 2013.
The Calgary couple was charged in the death of 15-year-old Alex Radita who weighed just 37 pounds when he died.
Alex was diagnosed with diabetes when he was two-years-old. He had previously been in foster care in B.C. for about a year after an investigation determined that his parents were not adequately taking care of his medical condition.
He was returned to his parents in 2005 and the family moved from B.C. to Alberta, where court heard that Alex did not see a doctor or go to school.
The Crown stated during the trial that the Raditas didn’t believe in Alex’s diagnosis, saying that “Alex was doomed and trapped by the two people with the power to save him.”
The defence said the couple didn’t mean to kill their son and that the Crown hadn’t been able to offer any evidence of intent to kill.
Justice Karen Horner said that Alex's death was 'unnecessary and completely avoidable' and that his murder was 'planned and deliberate.'
“This was a really difficult case for all involved. The facts that Justice Horner found were such that you really did see the magnitude of Alex’s suffering. How long it was and how extensive it was and this verdict reflects the magnitude of that suffering and reflects the magnitude of the crime that was committed,” said Prosecutor Susan Pepper.
Pepper says the evidence showed that the social safety net in Canada failed in this case.
“I would say that it failed him in two key respects. The first is that he had an extensive history in British Columbia, notwithstanding that, when the family moved to Alberta there was no communication between the provinces so no one in Alberta knew that he almost died on at least one occasion. The second thing that I would say, in terms of how the system failed him, has to do with education. He registered in a home schooling program in 2009, or his family did, and in 2010 he was removed from that program without having completed any work, notwithstanding that, no one ever knew that he was here, it didn’t get on anyone’s radar that he was essentially uneducated from 2010 onward.”
The Raditas were handed a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.