This story I first heard on Dr. Laura, and didn't actually believe it could be true. So, I looked into it. Yes, it's true. And it proves, yet again, why the law would frustrate the living hell out me. This one's especially difficult, as a child is involved. If you live in Detroit, and Judge Jones is elected, I would really want her removed from the bench. In my typical style, I've added comments. They're in italics and bulleted.
Dad gets probation in drowning death
Judge: Family must be reunited
By Jason Alley, The News-Herald
PUBLISHED: July 17, 2005
DETROIT — Raising three young children by yourself can be much more hectic and stressful than most people realize.
- No Kidding.
A Wayne County Circuit Court judge used that reasoning Thursday in sentencing a man to five years probation after he was convicted of leaving his 14-month-old daughter in the bathtub to drown as he watched pornography on another level of the house.
- Yes, you did read that correctly. He wasn't getting out laundry, answering the door, tending to another child, etc. etc. (though those wouldn't be good reasons for leaving a 14 month old unattended in the tub. He had to go LOOK AT PORN!
Judge Vera Massey Jones also ordered Shawn Paul Parker, 23, of Lincoln Park to undergo parenting classes, counseling and random drug testing.
- So, you can be 100% responsible for the death of your child, and all you need are PARENTING CLASSES? That seems completely outrageous to me!
Initially charged with second-degree murder, Parker pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter to escape the chance of spending the rest of his life in prison.
- I understand a prosecuters need for plea bargains. I think it's crappy, but a sad necessity in our system.
The manslaughter charge carried a maximum of 15 years' incarceration, but the judge said she felt probation was strong enough.
- Excuse me? Is she kidding? He left his baby alone in the tub to go watch PORN! And, it mentions in this article (as well as the others I've read) that he had been WARNED not to leave his children alone in the tub. So he KNEW what could happen. He just didn't care. And he gets probation?!? Sorry, I forgot, he also gets parenting classes. (Yeah, it is snarky, but only because that's complete crap!)
- He deserves all 15 years. Probation is a slap in the face of that innocent little girl. She was denied care in life, and justice in death. Sickening.
"Mr. Parker will punish himself more than we could ever punish him," Jones said, adding that she hopes his entire family can soon be reunited.
- I seriously doubt that. Porn was, after all, more important to him than the safety and well-being of his child, so I wonder if he cares.
"They need to pull this thing back together again and it's not going to be easy. (I) pray that the family will become whole again."
- Wait, she wants to put the family BACK TOGETHER? She wants him to be able to neglect his other kids too?
Andrea Parker begged the judge not to send her husband to prison, saying it would be unfair to the couple's other two children to be raised without a father. While she didn't live with them at the time, she said, the tragedy has brought them together.
- Okay, I'm trying to have pity for the mother who wasn't there but wants to stand by the man responsible for neglecting and killing her baby girl. Wait, wait, wait........nope. Nothing. Not an ounce. I'd have a ton of pity if she stood up, took responsibility for her kids and kicked Big Daddy Stupid to the curb. But since she's standing by him, I think she's pretty low too. Sorry, I know I should have more pity, but right now it's with the baby in the ground and the two other kids who would obviously not be safe in that home.
"Our family needs the time to rebuild ... to have as much of a normal life as possible," she said in between sobs.
- Ya, again, trying for the pity, but it's just not coming.
For the first time since the March 15 drowning, Parker spoke in his own defense Thursday.
"I realize what happened is a tragic accident," he said. "I can't get over what happened. It's really hard to forgive myself. ... I realize what I did was wrong."
- An accident (by my personal definition) is when something happens which is out of your control. This death was not a tragic accident. It was tragic. But it was nothing short of neglect! And totally his responsibility.
During earlier court proceedings, prosecutors painted Parker as a man who has a history of leaving his young children unattended in the bathtub.
- Yeah, it wasn't his first time. He was frequently neglectful of his children.
While his daughter, Alexis, was drowning in the first-floor bathroom, prosecutors say, Parker was sitting at a computer in his upstairs bedroom looking at pornography and possibly playing video games.
- He's a winner!
His 5-year-old son, Brian Parker, found the little girl lying in the tub of water in their home in the 2100 block of Goddard.
- So, now the 5 year-old is scarred for life. Let's put him back with the parents he knows he can't trust.
- Anyone want to take bets on what his future will look like?
The preschooler said he was playing with some of his toys that morning when he decided to go into the bathroom to check on his sister and 3-year-old brother, Eddie, who were in the tub together.
- Oh, maybe the three year old was supposed to be in charge.
"Alexis was tipped over on her belly," the boy said, adding that her head was underwater. He said he "flipped her over" in the tub "to see if she was alive or not" and while doing so discovered the water was cold and noticed she had "blue lips."
The 5-year-old said he went to his father's bedroom upstairs to tell him something was wrong.
"I heard him up there 'cuz of the tapping of the keyboard," the boy testified."I told my dad. He called 911."
- Yeah, but did he leave his computer? Or were the naked girls just too "purty"?
Paramedics were called at about 11:20 a.m. and transported Alexis to Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. After doctors restored her heartbeat, she was transferred to Mercy Children's Hospital in Toledo, where she died the next day.
- I can't begin to say how sorry I am for that little girl, and her siblings.
Nancy Beaudrie testified that she had warned Parker seven to 10 days before the deadly incident about the dangers of leaving children unattended in the tub.
- But again, the powerful call of the porn was overpowering. Maybe he should sue the porn industry for their addictive product. (Why, yes, I am being sarcastic!)
From Mondays to Thursdays for weeks on end, she said, she drove the 5-year-old, her great-nephew, to school and often had the chance to see the other children. On more than one occasion, she said, she saw either Alexis alone or Alexis and Eddie alone in the tub.
Sometimes, she said, the bathroom door was closed, blocking Parker from seeing his children altogether, and at other times the door was slightly ajar.
"I heard them one time crying that they wanted to get out of the bathtub," she said.
Beaudrie said she gave Parker, who lived alone with his three children, some advice.
- Advice he damn well should have taken!
"I just told him to be careful and that something could happen ... and one of them could drown," she said.
- But he DIDN'T CARE!
Lincoln Park police Detective William Sant'Angelo said Parker was remorseful when he initially questioned him and at one time he feared the man could be suicidal.
- Um, yeah, because he's only thinking about himself, and not his child.
While originally telling officers that he left his children alone in the tub for five to 15 minutes to find them some clothes to wear, Sant'Angelo said, Parker changed his story.
- So, he's a liar, too.
For an hour that morning while his children were in the house, the officer said Parker told him he looked at pornography on his computer. While the two children were in the tub, however, Parker said he was at his computer for only a couple of minutes.
- Long enough for his daughter to drown.
When officers went to Parker's house two days after his daughter died, Sant'Angelo said, there was pornography up on the computer screen as well as marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his bedroom.
- He's a WINNER!
Parker's two other children had been removed from his care, but custody was recently given back.
- Oh, my GOD! They gave him back his children. Pray for them.
Contact Staff Writer Jason Alley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-734-246-0867.
And this is the Supreme example of why I would be pulling my hair out by the roots, if I had to do the job of a prosecuter. When your job is to protect, and the sympathy is with the perpetrator and not the victim, how can the system really work? And I actually BELIEVE in our system! But this kind of thing literally turns my stomach.