Kelli Stapleton: A Year Later (And Still a Coward)

22 09 2014

My original post about Kelli Stapleton, 46, the Michigan mother who tried to kill her then 14-year-old daughter, Issy, has been getting a little more play lately as Stapleton’s trial loomed.

According to People, in the eleventh hour Stapleton took a plea, copping to first degree child abuse rather than moving forward to face the attempted murder trial.

Dr. Phil McGraw interviewed Kelli Stapleton in jail, which aired in two parts on his afternoon talk show last week. In that interview, Stapleton said, appallingly, that “the jail of Benzie County has been a much kinder warden than the jail of autism has been.”   That doesn’t sound anything like remorse to me, ladies and gentlemen.

In a July court appearance, Stapleton deflected responsibility or acknowledgement of her despicable actions by stating she could not recall certain visits or conversations with law enforcement and social workers in the aftermath of September 3rd, as she was suffering the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.  

Though in the Dr. Phil interview Stapleton states that she misses Issy, and she’s “not even worthy to beg for her forgiveness,” she admits that her concerns for her other children do not outweigh her instincts of self-preservation. She tells McGraw that given the opportunity, in a perfect scenario, she would not try to resume contact with or caring for her daughter if released from jail.

Friends of Kelli Stapleton are interviewed for the program, and they describe teenaged Issy as having “a difficult time communicating her wants and her needs,” “agitated easily,” and “impatient.” They allege that at the hands of her child, Stapleton has suffered a traumatic brain injury on three occasions. Their tones are very melodramatic, going so far as to say the child “terrorized” her mother and members of the immediate family lived in fear every moment that Issy could/would kill them.

Of course this whole mess is terrible, but arguably, its been indicated that Kelli Stapleton exacerbated the family’s predicament.

 

upnorthlive_stapleton

 

The response to my other post, published a year ago, has been mixed… with some people so sympathizing with Kelli Stapleton as to attack me. You have the right to voice your opinion as much as I do, but you overlook the actual words I used to frame the reason I wrote about this situation at all. It clearly reads “I can imagine, to a degree,” because of my experience with this community; NOT I understand exactly what Kelli Stapleton’s life and the lives of every other parent of a disabled or autistic child goes through every day of their lives. I was qualifying my perspective, not in any way trying to discount the struggles and sacrifices many of you have had to endure/make.

Furthermore, that is one of the more minute details in my coverage of Kelli Stapleton’s merciless assualt on her daughter. You can think I’m an asshole all you want, but an individual claiming to be the defendent’s sister-in-law wrote to me, and several other online outlets, explaining how my perceptions of Stapleton as a narcissist and a borderline-sociopoath are correct. Laura Kelm commented, “She was and is all about herself. And now she is using the media to dupe people into feeling sympathy where none is deserved. She was not an amazing, involved parent that only had her family’s welfare at heart. And it makes me sick reading comments all over the web from people feeling sorry for her.” [From the research I’ve been able to conduct, Kelm seems legit. The Detroit native, a mother herself, is the step-sister of Matt Stapleton.]

We should be focusing on Issy, and how after her remarkable recovery from the carbon monoxide poisoning she suffered at the hands of her mother, she and her family must cope with an entirely new, challenging dynamic. Kelli is facing life in prison, but even if she were to escape with a lighter sentence than the law calls for (and the public expects), Matt Stapleton has moved forward with divorce and custody proceedings.  She failed to kill herself and her daughter, but she did manage to immeasurably and permanently alter the Stapleton family structure.

 

 

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Michigan Mother Arrested for Attempted Murder of Disabled Teen Daughter

7 09 2013

I am so appalled by a People magazine brief I read online about this Michigan mother who tried to kill her autistic 14-year-old.  I can’t not comment on this.

Kelli Stapelton Mug Shot; Benzie County, MI

Kelli Stapelton Mug Shot;
Benzie County, MI

I can imagine, to a degree, what it’s like to parent a differently abled child; as my mother has been an educator and administrator in the special ed sector for nearly three decades. She worked with kids who were emotionally disturbed, had mental retardation, and autism. I have grown up being exposed to, and fairly well educated on, their issues and limitations, as well as the strategies and successes; and participated in different activities with and for autistic children and young adults. On several occasions, particular students that struck a chord with her would be brought into our home and included in family activities.
My mom’s stories about some of the pitiful families these kids come from turn your stomach and break your heart. These children are not disposable, not a single one of them, no matter how impaired or volatile. People with patience can achieve results that will leave the kid feeling capable and valuable.

That said, reading about the the accused, Kelli Stapleton, sent me immediately into a kind of rage. HOW could any parent kill their child? HOW could any parent of a disabled child turn on them that way? HOW will this girl, if she ever recovers, be able to trust her mother (and primary caregiver) again?!

I was compelled to read Stapleton’s blog, which is titled “The Status Woe,” which was not only referenced but quoted in the People article. (DISCLOSURE: Like this page, it is hosted by WordPress.)

I cannot believe what I read.  It is one thing to advocate for your child, a very necessary thing whether they fall on the spectrum or not, but quite another to admit to bullying your way to get what you want-– when the trained professionals have a different plan for how best to manage your child’s day to day. “It takes a village,” unless Kelli Stapleton lives in that village. She is a one-woman show.
Besides the fact that this woman has put their entire lives, every bloody detail, out there for the world when her daughter has no way to protest; I was disturbed by the amount of attention-seeking and immature illustrating Stapleton does.  How can someone expect to be respected and taken seriously when they have adorned their “website” with gifs and banners, admitted to being profanely vulgar towards a county mental health staff, or chastising a teacher (and co-worker of your spouse!) because she dared to do her job and input on the ‘behavior plan.’

There are certain phrases, buzz words if you will, that people in this industry- parents, educators and aides, and (OT/PT) therapists- do not use. (Ex: Normal.) Stapleton’s blog is littered with them and she places blame on the child for behavior she is not yet able to control (Ex: stating her daughter makes their homelife ‘horrific’). These are not altogether unforgivable offenses, but they raise red flags.  Stapleton is very ‘me me me,’ telling the Traverse City Record-Eagle last February that she started her blog because “I felt like I needed witnesses… If I didn’t survive this situation, I wanted people to know that I was a good mom and I did everything I could do, and I asked for help from all these resources.”
She even blogged that, “For 12 years, I have done a fabulous job of complementing professionals to stroke egos, kissing enormous asses to get needs met, flexing my muscles when necessary, and begging when it was called for,” but stated outright that no one would be “FUCKING WITH THE BEHAVIOR PLAN.” Seems to me like it’s Stapleton’s way or the highway, and that means her daughter’s well-being hangs in the balance.

I won’t feign sympathy for someone who tried to kill their child, and being that her family has volunteered personal information by way of that blog, and a Facebook group, I CAN CRITICIZE HER ALL I WANT.

Isabelle, and her father, Matthew Stapleton. Photo source: The Daily Mail (UK)

Isabelle, and her father, Matthew Stapleton.
Photo source: The Daily Mail (UK)

Stapleton’s husband, Matthew, wrote (in part) on the “Team Issy” Facebook September 5th: “So many of you have been very supportive of Isabelle and my family… and for this we are grateful. We are blessed with supportive friends, family, and an incredible community. Even strangers have been supportive of Issy and we ask that they continue to do so during this tough time.
We are also aware of the many stories and rumors that can accompany such events. We ask that you continue to keep the focus on Isabelle’s recovery and not necessarily on the events that have brought us to this unfortunate fight for her life. We ask that people don’t judge, but instead direct their positive energies on the recovery of this beautiful young lady.”

Seriously?  Haven’t you asked your community for enough?  They bought bracelets and t-shirts, they signed petitions and sent letters, they consistently fundraise. Your wife, who previously said the community’s continued support was “just so humbling and beyond generous and amazing”, just tried to kill your daughter.  How dare you even consider asking more of them.

Autism is no one’s choice, but the situation the Stapleton’s now find themselves is entirely Kelli Stapleton’s fault. Her choices to strong arm the insurance companies, the clinical organizations and therapists, the school district… all lead to this family’s back being against a wall and their daughter with no program to attend. Stressful as that is, killing her solves none of the problems, and further, doesn’t teach her mother to be less selfish.  Several news outlets (GOOGLE IT, I can’t link to them all) report that the “incident” was a murder-suicide… perhaps. But as we see entirely too often with filicide, the parent survives. THAT is why Kelli Stapleton has been charged with a crime, THAT is why Kelli Stapleton deserves to be in jail, THAT is why Matt Stapleton should get a good divorce lawyer.

I look forward to the comments and continuing coverage of this story. I can only hope it reaches national news channels and crime shows (I’m looking at you, Nancy Grace), and justice is properly served for this girl.

—————————————————————————————————————
UPDATE     Despite statements made to police that Stapleton believed it was time she and her daughter “went to heaven,” as she had reached “her wit’s end” with her daughter’s condition; a court appearance has been set to determine her competency in participating with her defense.  Stapleton admitted that she lured the girl to the family van, drugged her, and then set ablaze two charcoal grills to kill them both– because “this would be the best solution for the family” to end the her frustration with the girl’s condition– according to trial transcripts and a Michigan State Trooper affiliated with the case.
Kelli Stapleton’s husband, Matt, who is prinicipal of Frankfort High School, has petitioned for divorce and full custody of their three children.

I think it’s very clear what Stapleton’s motivations and intent were, and there should not be a judge or jury in the world compassionate enough to believe that a mother who claims to have devoted her entire existence, and blogged about it for all to see (praise), to creating a full life for her daughter, could have “snapped,” or behaved in such a way without premeditation.  This was her life for over a decade, which means she had nearly 4,000 days to consider how, when and where to kill her middle child.

 





Four Loko

18 11 2010

Yadda yadda yadda, Four Loko isn’t safe.

Yadda yadda yadda, its a “blackout in a can.

Yadda yadda yadda, Four Loko is  banned in four states (Washington, Oklahoma, Michigan, and New York) and several university campuses across the country.

Recently, a few of my classmates used our video assignment to facilitate conversation about this ban. Surprisingly, their interviewees were pretty understanding, even supportive, of the legal injunction on Loko shipments. Therefore, while filming and presenting, the group focused on their building outrage that 20somethings are not more concerned about the government’s interference with Four Loko distribution.

Photo Credit: SeattlePi.com

Really?

If the FDA failed to properly do their job, which is to analyze the benefits/harm of new food, beverage, and diet items in the consumer market, isn’t it the obligation of the higher administration to step in?

The malt beverage, available in 9 fruity flavors, ranges from 6% – 12% alcohol per volume. Four Loko is just the most recent “alcopop” to come to the party- with products like Joose, Sparks, and Tilt already having canned caffeine and liquor.





Michigan Sucks Too

16 11 2010

A mild classroom discussion became politically heated at an Ann Arbor, Michigan high school late last month, and the incident resulted in teacher Jay McDowell being suspended without pay.

Local teen Graeme Taylor, 14, spoke out to the Howell High, a school he does not attend, board meeting.  Taylor recalled bullying for his homosexuality that began years ago- even bringing him to attempt suicide at age 9.

Taylor said, “He did an amazing thing, he did something that’s inspired alot of people and whenever, ever, I have a teacher stand up for me like that- they change in my eyes.”

Watch his thoughtfully written, beautifully spoken speech below:

—The fact that this incident took place on the heels of almost a dozen nationally discussed teen suicides, and the Howell district couldn’t mediate the situation in-house but instead deprioritized an educator and authority for these students is appalling.





Asst. AG Say What?

29 09 2010

Michigan’s Assistant Attorney General has come under fire recently for his crusade against a University of Michigan college student.

Andrew Shirvell has disgraced himself, and his position as an official, by making heinous accusations against UM student body president, Chris Armstrong.  Shirvell has employed his personal blog to facilitate the online attack, calling Armstrong a “pervert” and representative for Satan, because of his sexual orientation and small-scale political platform.

Armstrong is openly homosexual and is moving to secure “gender-neutral” housing on the UM campus. As an alumnus, Shirvell finds this to be part of a “deeply radical agenda.”   So radical in fact, that he admits to protesting outside Armstrong’s residence!

“I’m a Christian citizen exercising my First Amendment rights,” he argues.

[ CLICK HERE TO SEE ANDERSON COOPER TAKE ON ANDREW SHIRVELL ON CNN 360*]

I absolutely detest when people- of any affiliation – use religion to excuse their ridiculous behavior! You are entitled by the Bill of Rights to have your opinions, and to share them as you see fit… but must you to drag God or any other deity into your idiotic slandering?

Isn’t there an unwritten rule, or at least an understanding, about people like Andrew Shirvell- people who are in an elected, authoratative, professional environment- that they not participate in activities to undermine their standing? Just like there are dress codes and contracts of conduct, there should be online etiquette clauses.

The assistant Attorney General should have the common sense not to verbally attack TEENAGERS over the internet.