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Wyoming couple charged in death of boy ‘taught lesson’ about alcohol

  1. Rob Cypher
    A Wyoming woman and her husband have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the alcohol poisoning death of her 16-year-old son, whom they plied with mixed drinks and shots of scotch to teach him a lesson about drinking, authorities said on Wednesday.

    Paulette and Joseph Richardson, the teen’s stepfather, will appear in court in southwestern Wyoming on Friday for a hearing to determine probable cause, prosecutors said, and both could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

    Police responded to the couple’s home in the small town of Urie before dawn on July 7 after Joseph Richardson reported the teen was unconscious, legal records show.

    A sheriff’s deputy found the boy dead on the floor of a bedroom in a pool of vomit and dark, thick fluid that had issued from his mouth, according to court documents.

    The deputy said the teen’s mother asked, “Are we going to be in trouble?” before saying she had sought to teach the boy that drinking was bad by letting him do so until he got sick.

    She said she “did the drinking thing to break him” in the same way her own mother taught her not to drink, according to a sworn statement by Uinta County Sheriff’s Deputy Brooke Hale.

    The mother said that lesson was needed for the teen, who was identified only by his initials in court documents, because he “wanted to drink so bad” for the past several years and his biological father was an alcoholic, Hale said in the affidavit.

    The couple told Hale the boy had been given several liqueur-based mixed drinks and shots of scotch during a two-hour drinking bout in which his stepfather also imbibed but his mother did not.

    They said the teen took medicine for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, whose label warned users to limit alcohol intake, according to the statement.

    The mother told Hale her son vomited and was “stumbling like a drunk” before going to bed the previous night. Her husband later found the boy unconscious and called the authorities.

    The teen likely died from complications of acute alcohol poisoning, according to an autopsy. A toxicology report showed his blood-alcohol level at seven times the legal driving limit, as well as amounts of a chemical used to treat ADHD at five times the recommended therapeutic concentration.

    September 16, 2015



  1. bluntwraps
    So sad that some people still don't consider alcohol. Stupid and irresponsible, but surely the parents get that now.
  2. sassieone
    Ignorance is bliss.

    Some people are simply not cut out to be parents. I'm sure the mother was heavily swayed by her husband who was NOT the kids biological father.

    Losing a child is bad enough. Knowing as a parent that you caused the death of your child must be hell on earth.

    I wonder what the outcome of the sentencing phase will be.
  3. RoboCodeine7610
    If I had a kid, and he had a drinking problem, I wouldn't really talk to him about it since teenagers are looking for the thrill of the forbidden anyway.

    No, it'd be much simpler to just find his stash and mix it with antabuse. That way, he'd feel it was his own choice not to drink.

  4. Rob Cypher
    I dunno, man...I heard antabuse mixed with alcohol could still have some potentially deadly effects. Remember, that stuff was originally designed to 'vulcanize' (make heat-resistant) rubber tires.
  5. RoboCodeine7610
    I'm pretty sure just one tablet in a bottle of vodka wouldn't be a problem. I had no idea it was designed to vulcanize rubber tires.

    Sure beats making your kid drink himself to death though.
  6. Rob Cypher
    I suspect a child would figure it out sooner or later; either that or they would be given a drink years later and when the antabuse reaction doesn't occur, they will just ignore the first instance and go with what that experience did for them. Trust me, I know; I first drank alcohol in large amounts when I was 18; but I didn't like it at the time because it made me depressed. However, I ran into it again in my 30s and the story was totally different, probably to my detriment.
  7. Alien Sex Fiend
    how damn some people really are?
  8. Bango Skank
    That's really sad, this is clearly no way to teach a teen a lesson. It bothers me a lot that one of mom's primary concerns was " Are we going to be in trouble? "
    I couldn't live with myself if I caused that, no way. My son is 13, and while we've talked about drugs and alcohol before, I imagine he's gonna get his hands on it and drink anyways, and I'm gonna have to be the mean dad again lol.
    Thanks for posting this Rob.
  9. RoboCodeine7610
    Years later is fine with me. It's teen drinking that's the problem.

  10. Rob Cypher
    Antabuse wears off in a matter of days; a child's curiosity about alcohol will not.
  11. RoboCodeine7610
    So we should let children drink alcohol?

    You can't stop teens from drinking just by talking to them. Alcohol is extremely damaging to a child's brain, more so than most other drugs. Does it not make sense to try to discourage any further consumption if you do find out your kid is doing it?

    Everyone can have differing opinions on what the best way of raising a kid is, but giving them a low dose of medication that's routinely used to keep alcoholics from drinking once or twice seems to me less risky than allowing your kid to keep drinking, if he is drinking that is. And it's not unreasonable to assume that a couple of bad experiences with the drug would create a negative association that would lead to an aversion to alcohol in the future. The older you are, the less susceptible you are to the addictive and neurotoxic effects of alcohol. Therefore, the later the drinking starts, the better.

  12. ianzombie
    Would they give their son an overdose of any other drug that he had showed an interest in too?
    Of course not, because people have more respect for other drugs as in most cases they do not look on alcohol as a drug at all.
    This is a horrible story. I feel terrible for the family and friends left behind and while i want to sympathise with the parents i find it very hard to do so.
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