File under: sad, sad, and even sadder. David Curtis Patton served five years in jail for violently abusing his infant son Jared in 2006. Jared lived for several years with severe brain damage, but died in 2009 while his father was in jail. Depressed yet? It gets worse.
Now, Patton has been charged with severely abusing his brand new infant daughter, and Jared's maternal grandparents, Kathy and Steve Stowe, want Patton to finally face murder charges over Jared's death.
Truly awful. But to me, the most mind-boggling part of this story ...
... is that someone went and had a baby with a man who had been jailed for abusing his previous baby so severely that the poor baby eventually DIED. What on earth? It's so hard to wrap your mind around, isn't it? And what was Patton thinking, having another child? After all that heartache and suffering ... honestly I think I could support a forced vasectomy in cases like this.
Does that sound insane? I know, it does. I guess the idea of a parent -- who should be the one person in the world you can count on for love and kindness -- being abusive like that just makes me crazy.
It certainly sounds like it drove Jared's poor grandparents crazy -- they said they lived for years with a hatred of Patton, but when they heard he had a new baby, they tried to move forward. Jared's grandfather Steve Stowe's words break my heart:
It had been on me like a 50-pound weight for six years ... I had to let it go and kind of move on. ... It's a terrible feeling to be hating someone all the time. You get up hating them, and go to bed hating them ... It's a hell of a way to live.
Stowe dropped off a photo of Jared and his baby blanket at Patton's house, and they had a short phone conversation the next day, during which Stowe told Patton he had a chance to start over with his baby girl.
I have so much admiration for the Stowes and their ability to do that -- to try to move on and start over themselves, freeing themselves from all that hatred. But of course, if this new felony charge is true, Patton seems to have thrown away his second chance, starting a new nightmare all over again. No wonder the Stowes want to revisit that murder charge -- after all, if someone's in jail for life for murder, he can't have more innocent babies to abuse.
By all means, this man should be charged with murder. That's not double jeopardy, it's justice. In fact, I feel he should have charged again back in 2009 when baby Jared died. But for some reason, Jared's mom, a key witness, said she would no longer testify against Patton at that point. Why, I have no idea. Maybe she just wanted to put the whole thing behind her?
I hope this man gets the murder trial (and the punishment) he deserves. And my prayers go out to his new little baby daughter, and to Jared's mom and grandparents. I can't imagine anything worse.
Does it seem fair that Patton be tried again for murder?
Image via Hampton Police/Sheriff's Office