It's been a long time since I wrote about a true-crime story from our local area, but this Oconee County case, of a 12 year old boy locked in a closet and abused for years on end, is one of the more horrific cases to come down the pike (please excuse our local rag's grammatical errors).
Yesterday, incredulously, the "parents" of the kid got up on the stand and testified that it was the kid's fault.
Damita Devonna Peak pepper-sprayed her 12-year-old son in self-defense, she testified Tuesday in Oconee County Superior Court.Point of clarification: Georgia hasn't recognized "common-law" spouses in about 20 years. This dude was the proverbial "boyfriend" shacking up with the mother.
Her common-law husband, Norris Lazarus Walker, thought handcuffing the boy was more humane than tying his hands with string, he testified, and he shot the boy with pellets from an air gun because the boy needed to feel pain.
They were trying to make the boy behave so he didn't end up dead from drugs or in prison, like other relatives, Peak and Walker testified.LOL. That'll learn him. But it gets worse, dear reader.
Jimmy wouldn't do his school work, lied that he had no assignments and never obeyed her, Peak said.
Peak asked Jimmy how would he feel [sic] if he was hungry and no one fed him, she testified."He said he wouldn't mind, so we pretty much took him up on his offer," Peak said.
Peak and Walker made him stand in the corner for extended periods of time and allowed him out periodically to use the bathroom, Peak said. Sometimes he soiled himself on purpose to prove he had to relieve himself more than once every two hours, she said.
"He'd say, 'See, I told you I had to use the bathroom,' " Peak testified.Jimmy managed to get loose. Walker testified that Jimmy hurt himself by trying to wiggle free from the tighter bonds, so he began to shackle the boy with handcuffs from Peak's job at the Walton County Jail.
"The handcuffs was really to prevent, not to make, scars," Walker told jurors.
[the sound of crickets chirping] And they did this so he wouldn't end up on drugs or in prison. It gets worse.
Walker, who hasn't had worked since the family moved to Georgia, was angry when Peak and Jimmy arguing [sic] woke him up one day, so he started shooting his stepson with pellets when he would let his arms down while he was standing in the corner.
"I was trying to make him hurt and make him realize we mean business," Walker said, admitting that he shot Jimmy while the boy was naked, once in the penis.
The prosecutor asked Peak if she minded that Walker shot her son's penis.
"I guess it was necessary, yes," she said.
D'oh. I'm guessing these two didn't receive the Parent of the Year Award. And lastly:
Peak and Walker told jurors they made Jimmy sleep in a closet at the duplex every night, and he urinated on J.J.'s clothes when no one answered his pleas to let him out to use the bathroom.
As punishment, Peak got a can of pepper spray just to scare Jimmy into thinking she would use it, she testified.
"I shook the pepper spray up and he came at me," Peak said, explaining to jurors she blasted her son in the face in self-defense.
The verdict should be rendered soon in this case and I'll update you then. But if found guilty, frankly, I'm not sure I can conceive of a punishment appropriate enough for these two.
And keep in mind, I'm familiar with all the medieval forms of punishment.