NBC4-TV, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., January 4, 2005
LOS ANGELES -- Murder charges are expected to be filed against a woman whose infant son's body was found in a washing machine after firefighters doused what they say was an intentionally set fire, authorities said Tuesday.
Latunga Starks, 32, was taken into custody last night, according to the Sheriff's Department Web site.
Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Dennis Shirey identified the mother and her nearly 3-month-old son, Michael Kelvin Thompson.
The fire in the one-story house at 417 W. 109th St. was reported about 8:45 p.m. yesterday. It was knocked down about 15 minutes later, said Jim Wells of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
An autopsy is pending to determine the cause of the child's death.
"It's a very tragic loss," LAFD Capt. Rex Vilaubi said outside the LAPD's Parker Center headquarters. "This fire was intentionally set."
Firefighters found the body in a washing machine in a back bedroom of the house, Vilaubi said.
Shirey, who is with the LAPD's Juvenile Division Abused Child Unit, said the mother was "unemotional" while talking to detectives.
"She was very passive, very unemotional," Shirey said. "She didn't appear to be remorseful."
The motive for the crime was not immediately known.
Four adults escaped the fire without injury, Wells said. Damage was estimated at $30,000.
Copyright 2005 by NBC4.tv. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The Edmonton Journal
November 12, 2006
A safeguard for women? An insult to women? Canada's infanticide law, like the crime itself, ignites strong emotions on both sides. Just how did the legislation evolve and why do some legal experts want it scrapped?
"You heartless bastards!"
The words rang out in a Wetaskiwin courtroom, Ryan Effert's verbal attack on the eight-woman, four-man jury that had just found his 20-year-old sister, Katrina, guilty of murdering her newborn baby.
Ryan Effert was the first to lash out at the jury, but his angry words have been echoed by many others. Defence lawyers, legal experts, pundits and members of the public have all expressed upset and bewilderment at the decision on Sept. 26. Read More ..
The Calgary Sun
September 25, 2010
For six decades, women who have killed their babies have typically benefited from reduced sentences under our infanticide law because of the belief their minds were disturbed from giving birth.
University of Alberta law professor Sanjeev Anand wonders why only mothers who kill their infants get a break.
Fathers and adoptive parents should have a shot at judicial compassion as well, he argues in a provocative article in the Alberta Law Review.
There is little evidence of a direct connection between the physical effects of childbirth or lactation and the onset of mental disturbances in women, he declares.
Rather, poverty, isolation and other social stresses are more likely causes of the mental illness some women experience after childbirth, Anand argues.
And if mothers are vulnerable to mental breakdowns because of the socio-economic burden of child-rearing, surely fathers and adoptive parents risk the same stress and should also be able to use the defence of infanticide, he says.
"Once the law recognizes biological mothers who kill their children may commit these acts because of the effects of mental disorders caused by social stresses, the law must also acknowledge all parents are susceptible to such influences," Anand writes. Read More ..
One of British medicine's most senior advisers on medical ethics has provoked outrage by claiming that infanticide is "justifiable".
Professor John Harris, a member of the British Medical Association's ethics committee, said that it was not "plausible to think that there is any moral change that occurs during the journey down the birth canal" - suggesting that there was no moral difference between aborting a foetus and killing a baby. Read More ..
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