A Southeast Washington couple convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the starvation death of their 3-month-old son, were told by a D.C. Superior Court judge yesterday that the right to have children carries with it the responsibilty to care for them.
"You just don't give a damn, that's your problem," Judge Nicholas S. Nunzio told Leroy Johnson, 23, the father of the dead infant.
To the mother, Tijusna Fauntroy, 22, Nunzio said:
"You have a God-given natural right to have children, but children have a right to live."
Fauntroy wept throughout the proceeding, the purpose of which was to impose sentence upon her and Johnson. When Nunzio asked if she had said through her sobs, "I love my kids. I wouldn't hurt a child. Thank you, Your Honor."
Johnson remained seated. Asked if he had anything to say, he replied, "Nothing, Your Honor."
The couple's son, Delonta Johnson, die at their home at 600 Atlantic ST. Se on Jan. 8, 1976, of comoications resulting from starvatioon. Johnson and Fauntroy were convicted of the death by a jury that returned its verdict March 16."
Medical testimony during the trial showed that Delonta had not grown in height during the three months of his life and that he weighed less when he died than he had at birth.
Yesterday, Nunzio imposed a sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison on both parents and then suspended all but six months of this. He also ordered that the couple be on probation for 20 years, that probation officiers check with them every two weeks of that time, and that they attend a child care clinic at Children's Hospital.