An excellent article from the Crime & Consequences Blog.

An excerpt.

In my address to a national gathering of capital case prosecutors last week, I ended with a reminder of why, in the end, we have the death penalty:  There are some crimes so grotesque that they lie beyond the boundary of civilized life.  When a human being knowingly commits such a crime, he has already crossed that boundary.  All the death penalty does is close the door behind him.

The case I used as an illustration was the beating death of a little boy, Elias Johnson. That story is here.  Another case, which I discussed here recently, was Susan Smith.

I wish I could say these cases are rare.  They aren’t.  I just came across another one, this one from nearby Maryland.

Here it is, from NBC News in Washington.

“The child police say was beaten to death after eating birthday cake without permission had suffered repeated abuse, according to court documents released Wednesday.

“Jack Garcia was a challenging kid — smart, but stubborn and uncommunicative, especially in his early years, according to those who knew him.

“But by third grade, before his mother moved him across the country to live with a man she’d met online, “he was ready to soar,” said Margaret Saleh, assistant superintendent of pupil services in the Goleta, Calif. school system.

“Once in Maryland, though, the 9-year-old’s life changed dramatically — and ended brutally. His mother, Oriana Garcia, didn’t enroll him in public schools and considered home-schooling instead.

“Rather than seeking professional help for Jack’s behavioral problems as she’d done in California, police say his mother, Oriana Garcia, allowed her boyfriend, Robert “Roy” Wilson, and her brother Jacob Barajas to physically discipline the red-haired boy.

“During the four months they all lived together in Wilson’s three-bedroom Hagerstown apartment, the 30-year-old warehouse worker’s methods escalated from slapping and sparring to smacking his legs with a bamboo sword, Barajas told police. Then came the handcuffs, with Oriana Garcia’s knowledge, “to teach Jack not to steal,” she told investigators.

“The abuse culminated June 30 while Garcia worked as a retail store supervisor, according to court records. Barajas handcuffed the boy, and Wilson knocked him down with blows so severe that Jack begged him to stop.

“Barajas told police it got so bad that he removed the handcuffs, but Wilson continued, repeatedly hitting the boy in the stomach until he passed out. Jack was suspected of taking some birthday cake belonging to Wilson’s 2-year-old daughter.”

My guess is that he took the slice of cake, knowing punishment would follow, because he had been starved.

Retrieved August 6, 2015 from