Calgary murder trial of parents in diabetic teen death adjourned until fall
'Not unlike an abusive domestic relationship,' prosecutor says
Key testimony chronicling the early years of a starved diabetic teen while he was living in British Columbia will be admitted as evidence in the first-degree murder trial of his parents.
Alberta Queen's Bench Justice Karen Horner ruled Thursday the testimony can be included as part of the Crown's case.
Emil Radita, 59, and his 53-year-old wife Rodica Radita are charged in the 2013 death of their 15-year-old son.
Alex, who was one of eight children, weighed less than 37 pounds and died of complications in Calgary due to untreated diabetes and starvation.
Court has heard evidence from medical officials and social workers who were involved with the Raditas from the time Alex was first diagnosed with diabetes in 2000 up until the family fled British Columbia while under the eye of child-welfare services.
The witnesses have testified that the parents refused to accept that their son had diabetes and failed to treat his disease up until he was hospitalized near death in 2003. One witness described the teen as nothing more than "skin and bones."
Social workers apprehended Alex 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.
'This is not murder,' claims defence
In arguing against the admissibility of the B.C. evidence, defence lawyer Andrea Serink said it doesn't prove the crime the Raditas are charged with.
"The evidence demonstrates problems all along with mismanagement," she said. "Yes, we're saying there was mismanagement — this is not murder."
Alex 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 wrapped up its case Wednesday, said although the evidence was prejudicial to the accused, it provided important background.
"It's about his whole life. He didn't just arrive in Alberta as a blank slate," prosecutor Susan Pepper told the court.
The evidence adds context to the relationship between Alex and his parents, she argued. His parents fostered complete dependence by isolating their son from school and all other forms of community, she said.
"This isolation was necessary to allow the Raditas to treat Alex's diabetes in an idiosyncratic and dangerous way," Pepper said.
"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."
The trial has been adjourned until the fall, but a date for when it will continue won't be determined until Aug. 19.
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