Couple charged with capital murder in kids' deaths

AP News
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Posted: Aug 19, 2011 8:41 PM
Couple charged with capital murder in kids' deaths

Authorities say a grand jury has indicted an Alabama couple on capital murder charges in the gruesome deaths of two young children last year.

The Mobile Press-Register reports (http://bit.ly/orPcGv) that Heather Leavell-Keaton and her common-law husband, John DeBlase, face two counts of capital murder in the deaths of his children, 3-year-old Chase DeBlase and 4-year-old Natalie DeBlase.

The indictment states that the defendants intentionally caused the children's deaths by "poisoning and/or asphyxiation and/or starvation and/or dehydration."

Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich declined to discuss specifics about evidence in the case, but said it is the "most vile case I've ever been associated with."

DeBlase's attorney, James Sears, could not immediately be reached for comment. An attorney for Leavell-Keaton, James Vollmer, said he had been expecting the charges and was not surprised by them.

The two children were reported missing in November. Their bodies were found in Mississippi the following month.