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May 11, 2007

Update: Vegan Parents Found Guilty Of Murdering Child With Vegan Diet

They convicted them on pretty much everything.

An American vegan couple were sentenced to life in jail today for the murder of their malnourished six-week-old son, who weighed just 3 1/2 lbs when he died.

Jade Sanders, 27, and Lamont Thomas, 31, fed the boy, who was named Crown Shakur, a diet largely consisting of soy milk and apple juice, the Atlanta court heard.

The baby boy was born in a bathtub in the couple’s home and never taken to see a doctor. He was dead when his parents took him to a hospital across the street from their flat on April 25, 2004. He was so emaciated that doctors could count his bones through his skin.

The couple maintained during the trial that they did the best they could for the boy while adhering to their vegan lifestyle, a strict form of vegetarianism which does not allow the consumption or use of any products linked to animals.

But prosecutors convinced the jury that the couple intentionally neglected and underfed the child and then tried to use the lifestyle as a shield for their actions.

“The vegan diet is fine,” Chuck Boring, a prosecutor, told the jury. “These parents lied about what they fed him. He just was not fed enough.”

He added: “They’re not vegans. They’re baby-killers. Think about how long they had to listen to his screams and hollers.”

Thomas, the father, hung his head and almost collapsed when he and his wife were found guilty on May 2.

I'm not sure if the prosecutor is being candid there -- is a purely vegan diet, consisting largely of soy milk (which is not to be used as a substitute for baby formula, and says so on the box) truly "fine" as a diet for an infant? Is he just claiming that in order to assuage jurors' concerns about parental rights to feed a kid whatever way they like?

I dunno. Seems like a kid who's missing essential amino acids and nutrients won't get those just by feeding him more of the same nonnutritive food.

In another update, Jeremy tells me that I was wrong to criticize the zombie sequel 28 Weeks Later for what seemed to be predictable and noxious anti-Americanism in the trailer. (The American troops engage in indiscriminate shock and awe destruction of London; some Americans seem to deliberately try to infect a pair of young girls with the zombie plague as, I'm guessing, some sort of experiment in weaponizing the plague.) He says my criticism was too crude:

I remember you posting about 28 Weeks Later some time ago and criticizing it because it made Americans out to be bad guys. I just got back from the movie and have to say that whatever you read that gave that idea was exaggerating. Sure, the Americans have to make a hard decision but they do so reluctantly and the director made sure to show the weight of the decision on the minds of the soldiers. In addition, it is a group of Americans that lead some kids to safety. If you weren't planning on seeing it because of what you had read, I hope you change your mind as it is a very good movie, as zombie movies go.

Well, that's good to know -- I like zombie movies, and I guess this one is back on my list.

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posted by Ace at 03:13 PM

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