In late February I wrote about quite possibly the single most heart-wrenching case of human depravity I'd ever come across. Jeanette Maples, a quiet, seemingly invisible 15-year-old at Cascade Middle School in Eugene, finally died after years of abuse and starvation at the hands of her mother Angela McAnulty. She weighed a famished 50 pounds when her heart finally gave in, and she was covered in wounds of various ages and severity. Maples' mother was convicted of her daughter's death and sentenced to her own, forcing the state of Oregon to build a separate one-cell death row where it could house only the second woman ever to await execution there.
Richard McAnulty did nothing to stop the slow death of Jeanette Maples.
Now her husband, the man who never beat the girl on his own, but never piped up about it either, has received his just rewards.Twenty-five years to life.
He pleaded guilty to murder charges Monday and was sentenced in the same fell swoop.
He admitted that while Angela was routinely starving the girl--putting locks on the cabinets, counting food, making sure she didn't get any water--he watched, helping his wife keep tabs on the sundries and tattling if she ever snuck a snack or a glass of water (at one point he recalled her drinking from the toilet to survive).
Angela McAnulty is the second woman to face execution in Oregon's history.
And then, when his wife would take Maples to the "Girl's Bedroom" and beat her, he'd pretend he didn't know what was going on in there.
Before Richard went on trial for his own life, he testified against his wife, confirming the most serious allegations while distancing himself from the real brutal stuff.
It's unclear whether his testimony bought him any favors that his guilty plea didn't. Without directly abusing the child, a death sentence would have been next to impossible for prosecutors to pull off, but 25-to-life is no walk in the park, either.
Then again, the possibility of parole is a priceless commodity for a man on his 26th year in the can. Richard will be 66 when that day comes.
During his plea, Richard's defense lawyers, according to the AP, argued that his low IQ and passive role under his dominating wife led him to become an accomplice, and that that warranted him sympathy.
Jeanette Maples, at 15, weighed 50 pounds when she died.
He got little.
It seems, however, that the only party left to try in this matter is the the state's Department of Human Services, where numerous complaints were apparently filed by Richard's mother, who warned investigators that Maples was being abused to death--but no one ever checked on her.
Questions also remain as to how teachers and students at Cascade Middle School never noticed the deteriorating teen who wasted away to a shocking 50 pounds before she died.
These questions won't bring Maples back and may not bring any peace to what's left of her loved ones, but they may help stop the next abused teen from ending up the same way.