Parents Who Defend Murderous Offspring

15 Dec

I am trying to understand why parents will vigorously maintain a son’s or daughter’s innocence in the face of overwhelming and compelling evidence of murder.  My interest was sparked by the Caylee Marie Anthony case and the total denial evidenced by the parents and grandparents, Cindy and George Anthony, of their daughter, Casey.

I’ve just started to research this subject and here are the noteworthy cases I’ve looked at so far:

Seth Cravens

Seth Cravens, 22, was convicted in the 2007 death of Emery Kauanui, 24, who died from brain injuries several days after suffering what prosecutors described as a sucker punch to the face thrown by Cravens during a four-on-one beating.  Cravens was one of five La Jolla, CA, men accused in the murder of Kauanui.  Cravens also was convicted on four counts of assault with a deadly weapon to produce great bodily harm, one count of misdemeanor battery and one count of making a criminal threat; he was acquitted on two other assault counts and one misdemeanor battery count stemming from previous unrelated assaults that came to light after Kauanui’s death.

Cravens boasted on the Internet of being part of a “crew” known as the Bird Rock Bandits.  The Bird Rock Bandits, all graduates of La Jolla High School, had engaged in many alcohol-fueled fights in the neighborhood over several years.

According to testimony, Cravens and four others – Eric House, Matthew Yanke, Orlando Osuna and Henri “Hank” Hendricks – left the La Jolla Brew House, where House and Kauanui had gotten into an altercation. The men drove to Kauanui’s mother’s home, where the fight broke out. At one point during the skirmish, Kauanui rose to his feet after being on the ground, according to testimony. He argued with Cravens, who witnesses said hit Kauanui once in the jaw, knocking him to the ground.

Yanke, House and Osuna pleaded guilty in June to involuntary manslaughter. House and Yanke were ordered to serve 210 days each in county jail. Osuna received the longest jail term at 349 days. Hendricks, 22, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.  Cravens pleaded not guilty and his case went to trial, where he was convicted by a jury.

His parents maintained his innocence throughout, despite the pleas of guilt by the other four suspects, despite their own admission that their son was “a young man who was aggressive and lacked direction,” despite the fact that he could not hold down a full-time job, despite the fact that he had (according to his father) “done a little too much partying in his young life,” adding that his son “likes to mix it up” sometimes, and despite the fact that he was (according to his mother) not one to pick a fight, but “he maybe doesn’t walk away from them.”  “He did not do what he is accused of doing,” Karen Cravens said. “There is no doubt in my mind or in my husband’s.”

What made these parents so delusional about their son?  Why couldn’t they see him for the angry and violent individual that he is?

Neil Entwistle

Neil Entwistle, an Englishman, was convicted in 2008 of murdering his American wife, Rachel, and their infant daughter, Lillian, in 2006 in Massachusetts.  Their bodies were found in the master bedroom of the couple’s rented home where the Entwistles had been living for only ten days.  Autopsy results showed that Rachel died of a gunshot wound to the head, and the baby died of a gunshot wound to the stomach.  Just hours after the deaths of his wife and daughter, Entwistle purchased a one-way ticket to London and boarded a British Airways flight.

Police located Entwistle at the home of his parents, Clifford and Yvonne Entwistle, in England. Entwistle told them that he left his home at around 9:00 AM three days previously to run an errand, and that his wife and daughter were both alive and well, and in the bed in the couple’s master bedroom. When he returned at around 11:00 AM, he claimed to have found both had been shot dead. He then covered the bodies of his wife and infant daughter with a blanket. He did not alert authorities.

Entwistle told the police that he was so distraught upon seeing the corpses of his wife and daughter that he decided to kill himself. However, because he was unable to bring himself to end his life with a knife, he drove the family car to his father-in-law Joseph Materazzo’s house to get a .22 caliber handgun. Finding the house locked, he told police that he then decided to fly home to England to see his parents.

Entwistle’s speedy departure from the scene of the deaths of his family was not the only reason authorities questioned his version of the events. Entwistle’s DNA was found on the handle of the same .22 handgun owned by his father-in-law that he told authorities he’d never touched. Additionally, DNA matching that of his wife Rachel was found on the gun’s muzzle. Also, a set of keys to Materazzo’s house were found in the car Entwistle left at the airport.  A search of Entwistle’s computer also revealed that days before the murders, Entwistle looked at a website that described “how to kill people” and also searched for escort services. Contrary to outward appearances, Entwistle had been unemployed since September 2005 and was essentially penniless at the time of the killings. Authorities suspected a financial motivation for the killings.

Outside the courtroom after her son was convicted, Entwistle’s mother read the following statement, “”We know that our son Neil is innocent, and we are devastated to learn that the evidence points to Rachel murdering our grandchild and then committing suicide.  I knew Rachel was depressed.  Our son will now go to jail for loving, honoring and protecting his wife’s memory.”  As Denise from Washington, DC comments:  “Clifford and Yvonne Entwistle believe that their daughter-in-law first shot her baby and then shot herself in the head, got up and drove 40 miles to return the gun to her father’s gun cabinet, drove 40 miles back home and got in bed with her daughter and died?  They are delusional.”

What are these parents thinking?  Certainly not “loving, honoring and protecting” Rachel’s memory, if it means keeping their boy from paying for his actions; they are pretty fast to shift the blame to her.  What kind of parent does that?  What kind of parent turns a blind eye to reality and truth?

The kind that raises a murderer, apparently.

But, thankfully, not every parent defends their murderous offspring.


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  1. Parents Who Don’t Defend Murderous Offspring « Faerie♥Kat’s Faerie♥Korner - December 15, 2008

    […] Causes and Murder Tags: Murderers, Murders, Parents of Murderers During my research into why parents will vigorously maintain a son’s or daughter’s innocence in the face […]

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