A Wyoming couple was arrested on charges of involuntary manslaughter after police say a teen boy’s punishment resulted in his untimely death.
The couple, Joseph M. Richardson and Paulette L. Richardson, allegedly made the teen drink alcohol to “teach him a lesson” and ensure he didn’t grow up to be an alcoholic like his father. The idea was to make the boy drink until he became sick to discourage him from the practice in the future. Instead, the teen consumed seven times the legal limit, and died with a.58 blood alcohol level.
The Daily Mail reports that Joseph M. Richardson and Paulette L. Richardson, from Urie, Wyoming, wanted to teach the woman’s teen son a lesson about alcoholism. The mother says that her son, Kendal Balls, had expressed a desire to drink for the past three years. The woman says she feared her son would become an alcoholic like his biological father. Therefore, Paulette and the teen’s stepfather decided to teach the teen a lesson on the negative outcomes of drinking.
The forced the teen to drink until he “became sick.” The stepfather notes that he was “going along with” what he had “been told” and that he just wanted to make the boy sick, not kill him.
“I was trying to go along with what he had been told and teach a lesson about alcohol and get him (Ball) sick.”
The Uinta County Herald reports that the teen’s blood alcohol level was seven times the legal driving limit, at.587 percent. According to the Richardson’s account, the teen drank with his stepfather and a family friend in the Richardson’s home. The teen allegedly consumed “a few” shots of Fireball whiskey, “a few” shots of Jack Daniels, and some beers. The teen’s mother says that the drinking began at 8:30 p.m. and at 10:30 p.m., the boy was ready for bed. His mother, Paulette, says she checked on the teen again at around 11:00 p.m., at which time the teen gave her a “thumbs up” as to indicate he was fine. However, at 3:45 a.m., Joseph Richardson went into the room to check on the teen and found him unresponsive. He immediately called an ambulance, but it was too late. The teen had already died from what an autopsy revealed as probable acute alcohol poisoning.
Uinta County Attorney Loretta Gerrard says the death highlights problems with common parenting lore or wives tales, as they can be deadly.
“I am not here to make parenting decisions for people. What I hope people understand, however, is that some traditional parenting lore, wives tales or theories don’t apply in an age where we have refined products that accelerate the effect of chemicals on the human body.”
The couple faces up to 20 years in prison for the involuntary manslaughter charge. Do you think the family should face the full 20 years for their poor parenting decision?
[Image Credit: Facebook / Getty Images / Mario Tama]