Russia will seek tougher punishment for an American couple convicted in the U.S. of the involuntary manslaughter of a 7-year-old boy they adopted from the country, authorities said Saturday.Hmmm, can't say I expect much to come of this (lots of difficulties in prosecuting crimes that occur outside your borders and committed by non-citizens even if the victim is a citizen of Russia), but 19 months for involuntary manslaughter (meaning a reckless or grossly negligent killing) of a child seems pretty low. . . .
Michael and Nanette Craver of York County in Pennsylvania were sentenced Friday to the 19 months they have already spent in prison for the 2009 head-injury death of their adopted son Nathaniel, formerly Ivan Skorobogatov.
Russia’s federal Investigative Committee said in a statement it will seek an international arrest warrant for the Cravers and prove that the murder was brutal and premeditated.
“That’s the opinion the prosecutors in the U.S. court stick to, and the Investigative Committee fully shares it,” according to the statement from the country’s top investigative body.
Prosecutors had argued that the boy died from repeated blows to the head, but offered no theory at trial about which parent delivered them.
The Cravers insist the boy suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome and attachment disorders. They claimed he ran headlong into a stove the night before they found him unconscious.
The New York Times also reports on the angry reaction of the Russian government to the lenient sentence. The article includes the explanation of the trial judge for the time served sentence:
"Judge Kennedy, in ordering that the couple serve no more jail time, said he did not believe that they posed a danger to the community, or that a stiffer sentence would serve as an example for others. He also said that given their ages — Mr. Craver is 47 and Mrs. Craver is 56 — he did not believe they would become parents again."
Of course, they are already parents of another child -- the twin of the boy they were convicted of killing. The judge also refused prosecutors' request that he order that the Cravers have no unsupervised contact with her until she turns 18, but the judge said he would leave such decisions to child welfare officials.
Nov. 29, 2011: As predicted, this isn't going anywhere! Russian court rules against issue of arrest warrant for Michael, Nanette Craver.