Longform

Diet From Hell

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Restricting the diet in almost any way tends to increase the chances for a nutritional deficiency, Johnston says. But problems with veganism are rare. Far more common is over-nourishment on fast foods and processed foods. Millions of Americans limit their options by regularly choosing food that isn't good for them, and it's so convenient and cheap that they eat a lot of it. So do their children.

"Parents are abusing their kids in a manner we don't understand yet," Johnston says.


Kimu Parker's lawyer, Charles Vogel, asked for an extension of Kimu's sentencing date to give him more time for legal maneuvers.

By June 13, Vogel hopes to convince the judge in the case, Thomas O'Toole, that he should dismiss the verdicts pertaining to Michaela and Caleb because no evidence exists that they suffered serious physical injuries.

If he's successful, Kimu Parker may get only 10 years instead of 30 to 51.

Either way, she can try to appeal her conviction.

Her husband and his former lawyer, James Wilson, were rattled by the verdict against Kimu. Vogel failed to make the jury believe that the kids had malabsorption syndrome, or even that the Parkers had good reason to believe the children suffered from it. Prosecutor Frankie Grimsman even turned the Parkers' only outside source of medical expertise — herbal specialist Windy Skeete — against them. Skeete testified for the state and contradicted parts of the Parkers' story.

Before Blair Parker fired Wilson, the attorney was focusing on Blair's mental state. But an insanity defense has always been out of the question. That defense can be employed only if it can be proved that the Parkers had no idea what they were doing.

Prosecutors proved just the opposite in Kimu's trial.

Three jurors interviewed by New Times say they didn't spend much time attempting to get inside Kimu Parker's mind during deliberations.

The statute under which Kimu was convicted reads "intentionally or knowingly" causing harm to a child. The jurors said they interpreted that to mean they should convict if they found Kimu may not have meant to hurt her children but, ultimately, knew she was doing so.

An acquittal for Blair appears a long shot. And it looks doubtful that he'll ever have custody of his three oldest children again.

But until his new trial date in September, at least Blair has the comfort of holding Isaiah, his and Kimu's new baby boy.

The Parker couple had been stuck in an empty home for months in 2005 after being freed on bond from jail. They were facing near-life sentences in prison, and their children had been placed in foster care. With almost no future ahead of them, the Parkers created one.

Isaiah was born last summer.

The boy stayed with his parents until his mother was taken to jail last month after her conviction.

Now, he's in Blair's care. At least for a little while.

If his father also is convicted, the boy will become the state's responsibility.

Kimu's aunt, Chochez Harrison of Gardena, California, has seen baby Isaiah's picture.

"He's plump and happy," she says.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.