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Judge: Mother who let her children starve too ill to stand trial

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on Jan. 31, 2007 at 1:36 pm with No Comments »
January 31, 2007 1:36 pm

This comes from our news partner, KIRO-TV.

A King County judge decided Wednesday that Kent resident Marie Robinson, whose two sons starved to death while she lay nearby in an alcoholic stupor, is unfit to stand trial because of mental illness.

Here’s KIRO’s dispatch.

And here’s a story I wrote about the case more than two years ago:

Kent mother arrested for investigation in deaths of her sons

A Kent woman is arrested after police find two of her children dead inside their apartment, the victims of malnutrition and dehydration.

By Adam Lynn; The News Tribune (the Associated Press Contributed To This Report)

Tuesday,November 16, 2004

Edition: SOUTH SOUND, Section: Front Page, Page A01

Police knew something was wrong as soon as they opened the door to the Kent apartment shared by a couple and their three young sons.

The smell of death was strong inside the two-bedroom unit, where the officers were dispatched Sunday after the boys’ grandmother called 911 to say she was worried because she couldn’t reach her daughter-in-law.

Officers found 16-month-old Justice Robinson in his crib. His 7-week-old brother, Raiden, was in a bassinet beside his mother’s bed.

Both boys were dead, victims of what the King County Medical Examiner called malnutrition and dehydration.

Their 2 1/2-year-old brother was inside the apartment as well. Officers described him as thin and hungry.

“The stench in the apartment indicated they’d been there several days,” Kent police spokesman Paul Petersen said Monday.

The boys’ mother also was inside the apartment. Officers arrested her on suspicion of criminal mistreatment and for investigation of murder, Petersen said.

The woman, 36, is scheduled to make an appearance in South District Court in Kent this morning. She spent Sunday and Monday night in the Kent City Jail. The News Tribune normally does not release the names of people arrested for crimes until they are formally charged.

Police sent the surviving boy home with his paternal grandmother – the woman who called police – after he’d been checked out by emergency medical technicians, Petersen said.

Detectives gave no indication Monday why they think the woman allowed her youngest children to starve to death, but there were clues something troubling was going on in the apartment.

The state Department of Social and Health Services investigated complaints that the children were being neglected earlier this year, agency spokeswoman Kathy Spears said.

“We’ve had some neglect concerns,” Spears said. “There were some face-to-face interviews with the family.”

The outcome of those interviews was unclear. DSHS officials were still pulling the records Monday afternoon, Spears said.

Neighbors said they hadn’t seen the family in a week or so. Others said the woman kept her children sequestered in the apartment.

Keola Dyson, who lives in the apartment above the one where the boys died, said Monday he never saw the woman’s children, even though the family moved in nearly six months ago.

“They were mostly locked up in the house,” Dyson said. “I’d just hear them crying once in a while, mostly in the morning time.”

Dyson said his wife would talk to the mother occasionally, and that the woman told her of a shaky marriage.

“The husband would go out at night, and she’d lock him out of the house,” Dyson said. “There weren’t any big fights or anything like that. No screaming.

“We just pray for the family,” Dyson said.

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