From what I can tell, it is an absolute travesty that the DA is prosecuting this case. This child was failed by those in authority at every turn. This abuser dad, CHRISTIAN HANS LIEWALD was CUSTODIAL. Meaning somebody in authority granted this violent freak custody and free access to torture this child. Others in authority failed to intervene after this child was abused again and again. And those names are being left out of the story, as the authorities scramble to pin all the blame on a poor 15-year-old who had a right to self-defense, just like anybody else.
This boy was NOT ABLE to leave this home in any "normal" way. Isn't this clear? The father literally pulled the boy out of school in order to isolate him and deprive him of possible emotional support. Even the rest of the adults in the family were terrified of crossing Daddy. What was this kid supposed to do? Continue to get beat up until he was a statistic himself?
And notice this: ALL THREE OF LIEWALD'S EX-WIVES have testified that he was physically abusive and violent. Including the boy's mother, who lost custody to this criminal. A mom who hadn't been allowed to see her son since he was six.
WHY ARE WE NOT TOLD WHO SET UP THIS MURDER? WHY ARE WE NOT TOLD WHO FORCED THIS BOY INTO THE CLUTCHES OF THIS SICKO FATHER AND KEPT HIM THERE? WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE BEING PROTECTED?
Prosecutor: 15-year-old 'ambushed' victims
By Meghan Cooke The Charlotte Observer
Posted: Friday, Sep. 30, 2011
Modified: Friday, Sep. 30, 2011
Days after he'd been grounded, the 15-year-old accused of killing his father and stepmother ambushed them as part of his plan to run away to Mexico, prosecutors said in court Thursday.
The teen's lawyer said he'd been abused for years.
Prosecutors said he had decided to leave the family's southwest Mecklenburg home but felt he wouldn't succeed - unless he killed his father.
He had a bag packed with toiletries, clothes and underwear, prosecutors alleged. Then he gathered guns and waited.
Details of the case surfaced Thursday afternoon as the baby-faced 15-year-old appeared in juvenile court for the first time, his eyes downcast for most of the hearing. He arrived in a white button-down shirt and black slacks and spoke only to recite his name.
His attorney, Valerie Pearce, told the court that the teen is a battered child who experienced physical abuse from the time he was an infant. His father, 43-year-old Christian Hans Liewald, controlled his every move, she said.
"He did want to run away to escape what he was living," she said. Pearce added that relatives also were afraid of his father and that the youth wasn't rescued by the systems set up to protect him.
Early Monday, the teen called 911, saying he had shot his father and stepmother, 24-year-old Cassie Meghan Buckaloo. He told police he'd wait for them at a nearby street corner.
When officers arrived at Liewald's home on Buxton Street, they found the couple dead.
On Thursday, District Court Judge Elizabeth Trosch read the charges against him: two counts of murder, armed robbery and attempted auto theft.
Prosecutors indicated that the charges could be transferred to Superior Court, which means the teen would be charged as an adult.
After reading the murder charges, Trosch told the teen that if he is tried as a juvenile and convicted, he could face jail time of at least six months or until his 21st birthday.
"If you are found guilty of these events as an adult, you could be imprisoned for the rest of your natural life," she said.
His mother, Shelby Hodges, held a hand over her mouth, her eyes brimming with tears as the judge spoke .
Prosecutors said the boy, who made As and Bs, had been grounded on Friday and decided he must kill his father before he'd be able to run away. On Sunday night, he put on a tactical vest and taped a knife to it, prosecutors said. He placed a shotgun in the hallway as back-up. Then he waited for his father to arrive.
When Liewald came home, the teen fired multiple shots, killing both Liewald and his wife.
Prosecutors argued there was not an altercation immediately before the shooting. The teen "essentially ambushed both the victims," said prosecutor Heather Taraska.
After the shootings, the teen went through both victims' pockets, took car keys and tried to steal a vehicle.
The teen's attorney didn't dispute the allegations, but said the boy had witnessed abuse throughout his life and was "controlled and manipulated" by his father.
Pearce said Liewald withdrew his son from school and often forced him to stay in his room.
She said the teen's family supports him - including his mother, an uncle and his paternal grandparents, who were in the courtroom.
"The entire family has been very supportive of him," she said.
Since the killings, three of Liewald's ex-wives have told the Observer they suffered physical abuse at Liewald's hands.
One of the women, who said she was married to Liewald before he wed his son's mother, said she lived in constant fear.
"By the end of our marriage, I was afraid of him," the ex-wife, who asked not to be named, told the Observer. "He was scary. He was really scary. I would want to hide."
She decided it was time to get divorced "when he handcuffed me to the bed and he left. He was gone for hours. He just did it because he could. I had to call my aunt to come set me loose."
Hodges, who married Liewald in 1996 and had his son that year, said Liewald was aggressive and controlling. After the couple separated, Liewald was granted custody of their son. Until this week, Hodges had not seen her son since he was 6 years old.
Another ex-wife told the Observer she saw Liewald scream at his son, who was about 5 years old when they married. She said she sometimes heard Liewald whip the boy, and then she'd see belt marks on the child's legs.
Motion to close hearing
At the outset of Thursday's hearing, Pearce made a motion to close the courtroom to everyone but family. Media representatives objected.
Pearce argued that the case is "very personal," saying that it involved family members and was not a crime against the public. She said open hearings in the case could affect the teen's mental health and damage his reputation and future.
Observer attorney Jon Buchan addressed the court, citing state law that says juvenile hearings are presumed open. He also noted the severity of the allegations against the 15-year-old, who is eight months shy of 16 - the age at which he'd be charged as an adult. Buchan said media coverage of the killings has identified the teen's parents, as well as the location of his home.
"I think all those factors weigh heavily in favor of openness," Buchan said.
Trosch denied the motion to close the hearing, saying that the teen is facing serious charges and that his confidentiality is no longer an issue because of widespread media coverage.
The Observer is not naming the teen because he is underage and the case remains in juvenile court.
At the end of the hearing, Trosch ruled that the teen should remain in custody at a juvenile detention facility.
An officer handcuffed him as his mother cried. Pearce spoke to him briefly, he nodded, and then was led away, his eyes still downcast.
Staff writer Cleve R. Wootson Jr. contributed.