I don’t know exactly how tall John Caudle is, but all anyone has to do is look at a picture to know that he wasn’t simply being sent to bed without dinner. The 15-year-old murder suspect who is on trial for defending himself against severely abusive parents only weighed 97 pounds when he was arrested. But according to prosecutors he killed his parents because he didn’t want to do his chores.
So let’s put the facts in context. A healthy weight for a 15-year-old male who is 5 foot, 1 inch tall is 123 pounds…at the low end. According to MotherJones.com, Caudle is almost 6 feet tall. At that height, Caudle should have weighed at least 147 pounds. If he were healthy, he might have weighed as much as 187 pounds. The only fact that the jury in Caudle’s trial really needs to be concerned with is that Caudle was being systematically starved.
What enrages me is that had Caudle died of malnutrition or starvation, his parents might have only gotten 16 years for child abuse resulting in death. And yet, if convicted in adult court under direct file provisions, Caudle could get as much as 80 years for defending himself.
All of this leads into a wider problem: According to ChildWelfare.gov, “Colorado [has an] estimated…50 percent to 60 percent of child deaths resulting from abuse or neglect [that] are not recorded” that way. What that means is that Colorado’s prosecutors simply aren’t enforcing child abuse laws. Maybe if Colorado’s prosecutors were less focused on convicting kids for defending themselves and more focused on tracking down and prosecuting abusive parents, we could eliminate parricide in Colorado.
I guess prosecutors would rather spend millions of taxpayer dollars to incarcerate a kid for life than actually work to protect him and end the cycle of violence. Apparently, it’s just more politically expedient to nail a kid whose friends can’t or don’t vote than it is to adhere to your own ethical standards.