WATCH ABOVE: Crown prosecutor says the system in Canada failed Alex Radita
A Calgary couple has been found guilty of the first-degree murder of their diabetic son.
On Friday, Justice Karen Horner handed down the decision against Emil Radita, 60, and his wife, Rodica, 54, in the death of their 15-year-old son, Alex.
“His death was unnecessary and completely avoidable,” Horner said. “Alex’s confinement did not only arrive from his illness, which was directly caused by the Raditas’ decision to withhold life-saving insulin and medical treatment. It is also as a result of their intentional isolation of Alex from anyone who could intervene on his behalf…
“Without Alex’s confinement, the Raditas would not have been able to carry out their plan to provide Alex with less and less insulin until they provided none, or to withhold medical care until he was dead.
“I find that Mr. and Mrs. Radita did, as joint principals, murder Alex while unlawfully confining him and as a result they are guilty of first-degree murder.”
Watch below: ‘He lived and he died very much alone’ – Crown reacts to decision in Alex Radita trial
Emil and Rodica declined to say anything to court following Horner’s decision.
The parents each received an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Crown prosecutor Susan Pepper was in tears as she addressed reporters following the decision.
“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.
“This verdict reflects the magnitude of that suffering and reflects the magnitude of the crime that was committed.”
Pepper said the system failed Alex in the lack of communication that happened between British Columbia officials and Alberta officials once the Raditas moved.
“If this case could lead to anything, it would be a meaningful discussion about how to fix things and how to really make change for other children who are living in conditions that might not end in a homicide, but that do end in suffering,” she said. “And I believe that that could save a life someday. And I think if change could occur from this, that would be a really fitting legacy for Alex.”
Defence had argued the couple was guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter.
Alex weighed just 37 pounds when he was found dead in his parents’ northwest Calgary home May 7, 2013.
Watch below: Alex Radita’s former social worker Patricia MacDonald reacts to the first-degree murder charge against his parents
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An autopsy revealed Alex died from a bacterial sepsis (Staphyloccus Aureus) from complications of neglect and starvation.
He was found wearing only a T-shirt and a diaper at the time of his death. He was covered in ulcers.
Alex’s body was filled with infection and had bacteria everywhere from his kidneys to his adrenal glands, spleen and blood stream.
The prosecution alleged the Raditas knew they were killing their son or their actions would likely kill him and added they never accepted the diagnosis of diabetes–even though he had nearly died from the disease when the family lived in British Columbia.
“Rodica cared more about being right than about the truth,” Crown Prosecutor Susan Pepper said.
The prosecutor argued the case went beyond failing to provide the necessaries of life, suggesting it was planned and deliberate.
“The plan was simple: wean him off of insulin, keep him out of sight and pray,” Pepper said.
“Alex could no more live without insulin than he could live without a heart…he was doomed.”
Home video shown taken of Alex on his 15th birthday in January 2013 shows a very thin, emaciated boy.
An expert in pediatric medicine testified in the trial, stating there were issues with the Raditas from the time he was diagnosed in December 2000. Alex was just shy of his third birthday.
Court heard he was hospitalized three times while living in B.C.
One doctor said Rodica said God would prove the diagnosis wrong and God would make him better.
At one point in B.C., officials sought permanent guardianship of Alex, but he was later returned to Emil and Rodica’s care in January 2005.
The family then moved to Alberta.
The prosecution submitted the Raditas deliberately withheld insulin from Alex. He never saw a doctor in Alberta.
The prosecution argued Alex was unlawfully confined to his bedroom and not even able to move about in his own bed. She said the Raditas knew if they took him out of the home they would be caught for not caring for him properly.
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