Dodsons convicted of abusing their adopted son

Date: 1996-06-20

Dodsons convicted of abusing their adopted son

June 20, 1996
Author: Greg Easterly   
Austin American-Statesman
 
GEORGETOWN -- A Williamson County jury Wednesday convicted Richard and Christine Dodson of starving and beating their adopted son almost to the point of death last summer. After a full day of testimony and an hour and a half of deliberation, the six-man, six-woman jury returned guilty verdicts for both defendants of intentionally causing serious bodily harm to the boy, now 6 years old.

The jury also convicted the former Round Rock couple of using a deadly weapon during commission of the of the crime -- prosecution witnesses testified the Dodsons used a wooden rod to spank the boy when he disobeyed.

Richard Dodson's defense attorney, Steve Brittian, said the Dodsons simply were  trying to discipline the boy the best they knew how.

"They may deserve a lot of things -- to lose their world, their kids, everything," Brittian said. "But they may not deserve to be held up to the world as child abusers."

The trial of the couple, who have since moved to Jonestown, had lasted almost two weeks when the convictions came.

As the trial progressed, prosecutors called numerous witnesses -- including Richard Dodson's father -- who said they feared for the adopted boy's health during the three years he lived with the Dodsons.

Ben Dodson and others who knew the couple testified that Richardand Christine Dodson had made the boy run laps around a tree in the yard, possibly for as long as an hour, as punishment and that he had been forced to sleep in the parents' bedroom closet.

After a full day of testimony and an hour and a half of deliberation, the six-man, six-woman jury returned guilty verdicts for both defendants of intentionally causing serious bodily harm to the boy, now 6 years old.

[This is an excerpt of the original article]

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