Livia Starlight pleaded guilty to killing her 2-year-old son because he wouldn’t stop whining, but her attorney argues she deserves sympathy for various reasons. Traelin Denzel Starlight died on Sept. 18, 2014, after his mother hit him in the head and threw him to a sofa in a fit of rage.
Upon his arrival at the hospital, doctors discovered that he already had two brain injuries as a result from earlier beatings. The autopsy revealed that Traelin died due to multiple blunt force injuries. His mother was arrested a year later.
Tsuut'ina mother Livia Starlight killed toddler while under investigation for child abuse - CBC.ca https://t.co/2b7EYpZIb1— Share Canadian News (@ShareCanadaNews) February 6, 2017
While Livia admitted that she killed her son, her lawyer, Alain Hepner, told CBC that the case is heartbreaking and maintains that his client deserves sympathy.
“This is a really sad case. Lacking the skills to do the right thing, she bears the ultimate responsibility, but even the judge — with the limited information at his disposal — knew there was more to this case than the headlines suggest. It’s just a very sad story.”
To know more about Livia, Judge William Tillerman has commissioned both a psychiatric evaluation and a Gladue report. The Gladue report is a pre-sentencing document that helps convicted aboriginals tell their side of the story.
The aim is to shed more light on the person’s unique upbringing and how it might have affected his or her actions. It takes into account that indigenous people might face systemic discrimination in the court. Caseworkers spend at least six weeks to prepare the report.
It is a common misconception that lawyers ask for Gladue for their clients to have lighter sentences. Restorative justice workers say the report is not an automatic “discount pass,” but a material that provides an avenue to further understand the case.
Livia reportedly hails from Calgary’s Tsuut’ina Nation. The lawyer is hopeful that the documents the judge is asking for will indeed help.
“A court worker will delve into the dynamics of Starlight’s life — the growing-up years, the economic and social issues that surround the family and what contributed to this matter. I think a lot of information will come forward from the psychiatric report and the Gladue report that will paint her, in my view, as a very sympathetic person.”
He added that while some cases are “just plain evil,” Livia’s circumstances are different. However, the Calgary Herald reported the shattering details of the child’s short life and these could make building sympathy for the mother a challenge.
In the summer of 2014, he had to be placed in foster care for about a year because of his mother’s problems with drug and alcohol. Livia still had access to her son after securing a Parent Guardianship Order.
During one of her visits, she brought Traezlin to Alberta Children’s Hospital where the staff noticed suspicious injuries on his body. Authorities began the investigation and since it was unclear if it was Livia or Traezlin’s foster parents who inflicted the injuries, social workers allowed the boy to stay with Livia under the supervision of the Tsuut’ina Child and Family Services.
Traezlin managed to become healthy again but one day, his incessant whining angered his mother. She reportedly threw the boy onto the couch while he was taking off his shoes. His head hit the arms of the couch which left him severely injured.
Livia then texted her mother for help. “Can u call ambulance 4 me my baby is not breathing I’m scared,” she wrote.
Traelin went into cardiac arrest on their way to the hospital and a week later, he passed away. He not only sustain ear and head bruises, but also suffered from swelling of the brain.
The judge is set to give his verdict in July.
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