Radita trial: Parents guilty of 1st-degree murder in death of diabetic son

Click to play video: 'Crown reacts to first-degree murder conviction against parents'
Crown reacts to first-degree murder conviction against parents
WATCH ABOVE: Crown prosecutor says the system in Canada failed Alex Radita – Feb 24, 2017

A Calgary couple has been found guilty of the first-degree murder of their diabetic son.

On Friday, Justice Karen Horner handed down the decision against Emil Radita, 60, and his wife, Rodica, 54, in the death of their 15-year-old son, Alex.

WATCH: A judge has found a Calgary mother and father guilty of the first degree-murder of their 15-year-old son, Alex Radita. Nancy Hixt reports.
Click to play video: 'Radita trial: Parents guilty of 1st-degree murder in death of diabetic son'
Radita trial: Parents guilty of 1st-degree murder in death of diabetic son

“His death was unnecessary and completely avoidable,” Horner said. “Alex’s confinement did not only arrive from his illness, which was directly caused by the Raditas’ decision to withhold life-saving insulin and medical treatment. It is also as a result of their intentional isolation of Alex from anyone who could intervene on his behalf…

Story continues below advertisement

“Without Alex’s confinement, the Raditas would not have been able to carry out their plan to provide Alex with less and less insulin until they provided none, or to withhold medical care until he was dead.

“I find that Mr. and Mrs. Radita did, as joint principals, murder Alex while unlawfully confining him, and as a result they are guilty of first-degree murder.”

Alex weighed just 37 pounds when he was found dead in his parents’ northwest Calgary home on May 7, 2013.

Watch below: ‘He lived and he died very much alone’ – Crown reacts to decision in Alex Radita trial

Click to play video: '‘He lived and he died very much alone’: crown on Alex Radita'
‘He lived and he died very much alone’: crown on Alex Radita

Emil and Rodica declined to say anything to court following Horner’s decision.

The parents each received an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Story continues below advertisement

Crown prosecutor Susan Pepper was in tears as she addressed reporters following the decision.

WATCH: Alberta couple convicted of murdering diabetic son. Reid Fiest reports.

Click to play video: 'Alberta couple convicted of murdering diabetic son'
Alberta couple convicted of murdering diabetic son

“The facts that Justice Horner found were such that you really did see the magnitude of Alex’s suffering: how long it was and how extensive it was.

“This verdict reflects the magnitude of that suffering and reflects the magnitude of the crime that was committed.”

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

Pepper said the system failed Alex in the lack of communication that happened between officials in British Columbia and Alberta once the Raditas moved.

“If this case could lead to anything, it would be a meaningful discussion about how to fix things and how to really make change for other children who are living in conditions that might not end in a homicide, but that do end in suffering,” she said. “And I believe that that could save a life someday. And I think if change could occur from this, that would be a really fitting legacy for Alex.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Alex Radita trial – B.C. youth advocate slams sharing of child welfare info between provinces

The defence had argued the couple was guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter.

A social worker who fought to keep Alex in foster care in B.C. was in court for the decision Friday. Patricia MacDonald said she felt justice was served and was relieved the couple is being held accountable for their actions.

“I just feel like they’re just so empty,” MacDonald said. “They’re void of any kind of emotion, any kind of feeling. I’ve never met parents like them in my life and I’ve worked with a lot of parents. I’ve worked with the [B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development] for 23 years.”

Watch below: Alex Radita’s former social worker Patricia MacDonald reacts to the first-degree murder charge against his parents

Click to play video: 'Alex Radita’s former social worker reacts to verdict'
Alex Radita’s former social worker reacts to verdict

READ MORE: Radita trial hears mother accused of killing diabetic boy said God would make him better

An autopsy revealed Alex died from a bacterial sepsis (Staphyloccus Aureus) from complications of neglect and starvation.

Story continues below advertisement

He was found wearing only a T-shirt and a diaper at the time of his death. He was covered in ulcers.

Alex’s body was filled with infection and had bacteria everywhere from his kidneys to his adrenal glands, spleen and bloodstream.

The prosecution alleged the Raditas knew they were killing their son or that their actions would likely kill him and added they never accepted the diagnosis of diabetes–even though he had nearly died from the disease when the family lived in British Columbia.

Watch below: Global’s past coverage of the Radita trial

“Rodica cared more about being right than about the truth,” Crown Prosecutor Susan Pepper said.

The prosecutor argued the case went beyond failing to provide the necessaries of life, suggesting it was planned and deliberate.

Story continues below advertisement

“The plan was simple: wean him off of insulin, keep him out of sight and pray,” Pepper said.

“Alex could no more live without insulin than he could live without a heart…he was doomed.”

Home video shown taken of Alex on his 15th birthday in January 2013 shows an emaciated boy.

An expert in pediatric medicine testified at the trial, stating there were issues with the Raditas from the time Alex was diagnosed in December 2000. He was just shy of his third birthday at the time.

Court heard he was hospitalized three times while living in B.C.

READ MORE: Calgary parents accused of not treating diabetic teen plead not guilty to first-degree murder

One doctor said Rodica said God would prove the diagnosis wrong and God would make Alex better.

At one point in B.C., officials sought permanent guardianship of Alex, but he was later returned to Emil and Rodica’s care in January 2005.

The family then moved to Alberta.

The prosecution submitted the Raditas deliberately withheld insulin from Alex. He never saw a doctor in Alberta.

The prosecution argued Alex was unlawfully confined to his bedroom and not even able to move about in his own bed. She said the Raditas knew if they took him out of the home they would be caught for not caring for him properly.

Story continues below advertisement

Below: Photos of Alex Radita on his 15th birthday, taken just months before his death. 

Story continues below advertisement

Sponsored content