George Stevenson grew up in a family that cared for numerous foster children, and after mentoring and coaching boys in youth baseball for years, he decided to adopt a child of his own.
He became the father of an 8-year-old boy and named him Galen, after his brother. As the boy grew older, relatives say, it became apparent that he was troubled, and at one point he had to be sent away to a treatment facility.
Still, they say, none of that could have foretold what happened in late April, when police say Galen stabbed his 43-year-old father repeatedly inside their North Baltimore apartment. George Stevenson died of his injuries, including a punctured lung and severed kidney, this month, and the boy has been charged as an adult in the attack. Galen is 16 now.
George Stevenson's relatives continue to stress, even in the face of his death, that foster care and adoption are important and positive experiences, and they are speaking out to ensure that public perceptions of the institutions aren't tainted by this case. They also still want the best for Galen, calling the killing "an isolated incident."
"We don't want people to think it has anything to do with adoption or kids in the foster care system. That's not the case," said George Stevenson's sister, Rashelle Stevenson-Oliver, who has seven adopted children. "It's an isolated incident, and we hope things work out so that he can get the attention and the help that he needs."
Galen's defense attorney, Elizabeth Lopez, said the allegations were out of character for the teenager. Lopez said one of the boy's teachers told her that he played chess with her every day and was a "great student." Lopez declined to comment further.
Incidents of children killing their parents are rare, including those involving adopted children.
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