Thursday, August 25, 2011

Custodial dad, step plead not guilty to capital murder of two children; claim "mental disease" (Mobile, Alabama)

The evidence indicates that custodial dad JOHN DEBLASE and the charming step slowly and deliberately tortured these kids to death. But somehow we are supposed to believe that both of these specimens had a "mental disease" or "mental defect" so they're not guilty.

Notice that the press is now keeping mum as to how this supposedly "mentally defective" father got possession of these kids. This is the common pattern. But here at Dastardly, we like to refresh you're memory. From what I can tell, the mother was suffering financially, so the father shrewdly exploited the situation to secure custody. Then, as is typical of control freak abusers, he cut off all visitation or even phone calls. The mother reported that she last had contact with the kids in November 2009. See our previous posts here at Dastardly Dads.

DeBlase case: Father, stepmother of slain children plead not guilty to capital murder
Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 4:13 PM
Updated: Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 4:19 PM
By Katherine Sayre, Press-Register Press-Register

MOBILE, Alabama -- A couple accused of torturing and poisoning two children to death pleaded not guilty by mental disease in court this afternoon.

A judge ordered that a state forensic psychologist evaluate John DeBlase, the children’s father.

His common-law wife, Heather Leveall-Keaton, has already been evaluated although a report has not yet been completed, court officials said.

DeBlase, 27, and Leavell-Keaton, 22, are charged with capital murder in the deaths of 4-year-old Natalie DeBlase and 3-year-old Chase DeBlase.

Investigators in December found the siblings’ bodies dumped in separate wooded areas in Mississippi and Alabama one month after they were reported missing.

In arraignment hearings Wednesday, DeBlase — who appeared to have dramatically lost weight while in jail — and Leavell-Keaton entered pleas of not guilty or not guilty by reason of mental disease or mental defect.

Both are being held in Mobile County Metro Jail, although they are driven to court separately and kept apart.

Defense attorney Jim Sears said that DeBlase has mental health problems, but he declined to be more specific.

A Mobile County grand jury last week upgraded charges against the father from felony murder to capital murder.

Sears said that DeBlase found out about the new charges in jail watching the local news on TV.

“He’s heartbroken that his children are dead,” Sears said. “He was very firm in saying he had nothing to do with the death of his children.”

Indictments allege that DeBlase and Leavell-Keaton intentionally killed the children by poisoning and/or asphyxiation and/or starvation and/or dehydration.

If convicted of capital murder, the defendants would face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Leavell-Keaton also faces two counts of aggravated child abuse. She is accused of burning, scratching, beating and starving the children.

District Attorney Ashley Rich said on Wednesday that there is no evidence indicating that the couple are insane.

Rich wouldn’t comment when asked whether prosecutors could say exactly how the children died.

In previous court hearings, police have said that Leavell-Keaton slowly poisoned the children by pouring antifreeze into their food because she no longer wanted to be responsible for raising them.

Police said Natalie, whose body was found near Citronelle, died in March 2010, and Chase, whose body was found near Vancleave, Miss., died in June 2010.