Couple offers to adopt boy with mom on death row

The Associated Press /

EUGENE — A third-grade boy whose mother is on death row is on track to be adopted.

The boy has been a ward of the state since December 2009, when paramedics found his half-sister, 15-year-old Jeanette Maples, starved and battered to death.

A jury convicted Angela McAnulty of aggravated murder and gave her the death penalty. Richard McAnulty, the boy’s father, pleaded guilty to murder by abuse for failing to protect his stepdaughter. He is serving a sentence of 25 years to life.

Both parents have relinquished their rights to their son. Attorneys for each told Lane County Juvenile Court Judge Eveleen Henry on Tuesday that their clients support adoption, The Register-Guard newspaper reported.

Caseworker Linda Cline told Henry the potential adoptive parents live in a different part of Oregon.

Cline said she read home studies for 50 potential adoptive families all over the country before recommending the couple. Cline said she chose Oregon parents, in part, so the boy could stay in touch with another half-sister, now 15, who is in a permanent placement with different foster parents.

“It is really important for him to be seen by his peers as just a kid and to not paint him with that (family) history,” Cline told Henry.

The boy’s attorney, David Phillips, said it will take time for his client to make the transition to his new life, and urged the state to provide therapy to help the child deal with past family dynamics.

Phillips described the boy as “bubbly, very smart and very perceptive,” but said any child “who endured what he endured and who has seen what he’s seen” will understandably have problems.

The child’s current foster mother told the judge that the boy’s potential adoptive family includes “experienced parents” with older children who have demonstrated their ability to provide structure and boundaries. She said the family also is “faith-based,” and that the boy has talked about wanting to go to church.

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