14 months ago, I wrote about the tragic story of the Schatz family. Their adopted child died from internal injuries and cardiac arrest after prolonged whipping with plumbing supply line. Her older adopted sister had been similarly “disciplined” and suffered kidney damage, requiring hospitalization, but recovered. Another child in the family was found to have marks of injuries. The parents were jailed and have been awaiting trial on murder charges, and the couple’s six biological and surviving adopted child have been put into foster care.
Here is a blog post from someone who knew the family–attended church with them, had dinner in their home, shared intimate conversations with the mother. I share it because it is easy to portray these parents as monsters and I don’t think it’s anywhere near as simple as that. Laurie Mathers: In Which I Discuss the Unthinkable In the comments thread, are a couple of other people who knew the child who was killed, including Bishop Jones in Liberia who ran the orphanage she was adopted from.
The trial was scheduled to start today, but according to news reports, the father unexpectedly agreed to plead guilty to second degree murder and torture, and the mother will plead guilty to manslaughter. [Chico Enterprise-Record]
The D.A. believes that this is approximately what the couple would have been convicted of in a juried trial. Apparently it is likely that the adopted daughter who survived the whippings would have been called as a witness, and I’m glad she will not have to go through that.
A trial might have provided useful insight into the situation and the influences and factors that would cause loving parents to do this. But on the whole, I think sparing the children the further anguish of a trial is probably a good thing.