A Calgary mother who was convicted of first-degree murder in the starvation and neglect death of her diabetic 15-year-old son has asked the Alberta Court of Appeal to overturn her conviction, arguing the judge showed bias when she cried during the trial. The boy weighed just 37 pounds when he died.
Rodica Radita and her husband Emil were convicted in February by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Karen Horner.
Horner found there was planning and forcible confinement of their teen son.
In her own handwriting, Rodica Radita's notice of appeal states two grounds on which she argues that a higher court should order a new trial.
"The judge's crying during my case (closing argument and while reading her decision) demonstrates that she was biased," reads the document.
"Saying that my arguments were 'nonsensical' when they were based on the actual evidence further shows her bias and inability to decide my case on the facts rather than on emotion."
Although Horner seemed to be emotional when reading her decision, it was unclear if she was crying.
Alex, 15, whose Type 1 diabetes went untreated, died on May 7, 2013. His parents were each given a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
The Raditas had a history of refusing to properly treat their son's condition — despite many meetings and training sessions with medical professionals — beginning when he was diagnosed at age two when the family lived in British Columbia.
In 2003, five-year-old Alex was taken to hospital so ill that he was just hours away from dying of untreated diabetes.
He was seized from his family for about a year, but returned after a judge ruled he believed Alex would be under the watch of school and health officials, who would keep tabs on the boy and would notice if he began to deteriorate again.
But eventually the parents moved to Alberta and from about 2009 until his death, Alex was never enrolled in school and was never taken to see a doctor.
Horner said the Raditas were well aware of their son's diabetes and how it should be treated. She found they purposefully isolated the ill boy.
Emil Radita has not yet appealed his conviction.