In Alabama, a grandmother made her 9 year-old granddaughter run for three hours, while holding weights and without water. This was to punish the girl for eating chocolate, which she wasn't supposed to eat because of a medical condition. The girl died and while officially autopsy results are still pending, dehydration seems a pretty likely cause of death. Despite being a bleeding heart liberal defense attorney, I don't object to this woman being prosecuted. For child abuse. Maybe child endangerment. Maybe even some kind of involuntary manslaughter. I know what Kansas charges might fit, but I don't know the ins and outs of Alabama state law, so I'll defer to those prosecutors when they decide to charge her with...
I'm almost at a loss for words. But, of course, with me that never lasts very long. Though I do have to say one more "WTF?" before moving into my rant. Is this prosecutor serious? Is this prosecutor seriously interested in pursuing the death penalty here? Is this prosecutor seriously interested in expending hundreds of thousands of dollars on all of the things that go along with a capital murder charge? The jury questionnaires and lengthy jury selection. The longer trial. The mitigation investigation the defense has to do. Is this prosecutor seriously wanting to take this case down that road?
And how is something like this possibly capital murder anyway? I'm used to thinking of capital murder being a case of intentional killing. That's what's required in Kansas. But under Alabama statutes, it sure looks like a person could face the death penalty for recklessly causing someone's death "under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life." Wow. Again, I don't really know what to say to that. Seems a tad over the top to execute a grandmother for overzealous punishment. Yes, it was way, way overzealous. Mean. Awful. Cruel. Criminal, even. But punishable by death? It's unfathomable to me that people think that way. I hope I will never understand that level of bloodlust.
Surely this case won't really proceed as a death penalty case. Surely this is just bravado by the prosecutor right now. Surely reason will prevail. Right?