Calgary 1st-degree murder trial delayed for parents in diabetic teen's death
Alex Radita, weighed 37 pounds when he died at age 15
A first-degree murder trial for the parents of a teenage boy who died of starvation and complications from untreated diabetes is delayed until Tuesday as defence lawyers still need to speak with a potential witness before deciding whether to call evidence.
Emil Radita, 59, and his 54-year-old wife, Rodica Radita, are charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 death of their 15-year-old son.
Their lawyers, Jim Lutz and Andrea Serink, told Justice Karen Horner on Monday that they still need to speak with the underage witness.
The trial, which began May 24, was adjourned over the summer and is to enter its final stage this week. If defence lawyers decide not to call evidence, the trial will move into closing arguments. The parents have both pleaded not guilty.
Alexandru, who was one of eight children, weighed less than 37 pounds when he died.
Court has heard evidence from medical officials and social workers, who were involved with the Raditas from the time Alexandru was first diagnosed with diabetes in 2000 up until the family fled British Columbia while under the eye of child-welfare services.
Witnesses have testified that the parents refused to accept that their son had diabetes and failed to treat his disease until he was hospitalized near death in 2003. One witness described the teen as nothing more than "skin and bones."
Social workers apprehended Alexandru after his October 2003 hospital admission and placed him in foster care — where he thrived — for nearly a year before he was returned to his family.
Alexandru virtually fell off the map once the family moved to Alberta in 2008. Court was told he was enrolled in an online school program for one year but never finished. The boy never saw a doctor, although he did have an Alberta health insurance number.
The Crown, which concluded its case in June, said the teen's parents fostered complete dependence by keeping their son out of school and isolating him from the community.
"This isolation was necessary to allow the Raditas to treat Alexandru's diabetes in an idiosyncratic and dangerous way," prosecutor Susan Pepper told the court.
"The relationship between Alex and his parents is not unlike an abusive domestic relationship where the abuser isolates the abused in a bid to establish total control over the victim."
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