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Foster Mom Kills Rapist
January 28, 2009 permalink
Here is a story we could not make up. When foster mother Crystal Keith changed Christopher Thomas's diaper, he had a look suggesting that he wanted her sexually. In defending herself against the rapist she beat the boy to death. They pick fine fosters in Milwaukee.
Christopher Thomas' aunt details reasons for abuse
Psychologist concludes she knew it was wrong
By Crocker Stephenson of the Journal Sentinel, Posted: Jan. 26, 2009
Days after state child welfare workers placed the infant Christopher Thomas and his 2-year-old sister in the care of their aunt, the 24-year-old woman miscarried, an event she blamed on the children. Within weeks, she was abusing them, believing Christopher wanted her sexually and that his sister was "sneaky," according to a court document filed Monday.
Crystal Keith is charged with beating Christopher to death and with torturing his older sister for months. She has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. A report filed by forensic psychologist Kenneth Smail paints a portrait of a deeply troubled woman, but concludes Keith knew the difference between right and wrong.
"Her conduct occurred as an expression of her depression and stress," Smail writes. "It was not something that was out of her control."
According to the report, Keith grew up in large family where, she told Smail, she was sexually abused, depressed and at times suicidal. She moved in with Reginald Keith when she was 16. They had a child, then married four years later.
Christopher and his sister are the children of Reginald Keith's brother. The Keiths became Christopher and his sister's kinship foster parents in June.
According to the report, Keith began slapping the sister's hand. When that seemed to have no effect, she began hitting her hands and feet with the back of hairbrush. She pulled and twisted both children's extremities.
"She did recall placing (the girl's) feet under hot water because the (striking) was no longer effective," the report says.
"She said she did that until the child's skin began to bubble. She said that she made sure that (the girl) wore socks so that Reginald would not see the injuries.
"She said that in October, (the girl) began to 'act better' so she turned attention to Christopher."
Christopher turned 1 that month.
According to the report, "one of her thought distortions that seemed particular to Christopher was that she perceived him to 'want me in a sexual way,' " based on how he looked at her when she changed his diaper.
"She said such observations on her part resulted in her hitting him in the leg and in other parts of the body. . . . She would keep hitting him until he stopped crying."
The report quotes Keith talking about the beating she gave Christopher on Nov. 10, which resulted in his death the next day.
"I had in my mind that I need to hit him. He was trying to control me, and I punched him in the leg. He was still crying. I hit him some more so I hoped that he would stop crying."
According to the report, she said she slapped him, choked him and shoved the handle of a hairbrush down his throat.
"All my life I wanted to die, but instead he died," she is quoted as saying in the report.
"That isn't fair. There was incest in my family. I was so sad. I've always been sad and alone."
As for Christopher's sister, the report noted that by the time she was hospitalized, her weight had fallen below the first percentile, she had four fractures, could not use her left arm, and had burns "from head to her foot, some of which were consistent with flowing water burns with blistering and oozing observed on those wounds."
Keith attempted to hide the children's injuries from her family, the report says.
"I believe the record is replete with indications that she appreciated that what she was doing was wrongful," Smail wrote.
A hearing on the report is set for Wednesday before Milwaukee Circuit Judge Patricia McMahon. Keith's trial is set for May 4.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel