A 6-week-old baby died of starvation after being fed a diet of mostly soy milk and apple juice by his vegan parents. Today his parents were sentenced to life in prison.
Last week, Lamont Thomas, 31 and Jade Sanders, 27, were found guilty of malice murder, child cruelty and other charges that related to the death of their son, Crown Shakur.
A jury deliberated for seven hours before bringing back the verdict.
Under a Georgia State Law that requires life in prison for anyone convicted of malice murder, Superior Court Judge L.A. McConnell sentenced the couple to just that today.
The couple's defense attorneys argued that they did not mean to harm the child . He said that Thomas and Sanders believed their son Crown, who at the time he died in April of 2004 weighed only 3-1/2 pounds, had lost weight because he was being fed a diet of mostly soy milk, organic apple juice, and breast milk.
Sanders said that she would never intentionally have hurt her baby. "Not once was I asked if I loved my son," Sanders said. "I'm not a number. I'm a person. I loved my son and I did not starve him."Sanders and Thomas are both vegans, meaning they eat no animal products. However, prosecutors argued that the couple's diet wasn't at issue - it was their treatment of Crown that led to the baby's death.
The jury, who had four vegetarians on it, were convinced by the prosecution that the couple intentionally neglected and did not feed their child. The jury was told that Crown was born in at home in a bathtub. The couple's apartment is just across the street from a hospital and the boy never received professional medical care. Fulton prosecutor Chuck Boring said: "No matter how many times they want to say, 'We're vegans, we're vegetarians', that's not the issue in this case. The child died because he was not fed. Period."
Lamont Thomas and Jade Sanders
During his closing arguments, Fulton prosecutor Mike Carlson told the jury: "They're not vegans, they're baby killers."
There is no mention of what this baby's size or weight were when he was born but surely, any rational, sane person would realize that when their baby weighs 3 and one half pounds, there is something serious wrong.