Angela Darlene McAnulty

I have a few lists with names of cases for me to look into at some point. These names can really come from anywhere.  Some come from the news; some come from reading about other cases.  Often times I simply write the name down and forget about it until I see it on the list and start researching it.  Most of the time once I start looking into it I will remember where I had seen the name before which had caused me to write it down.  This is not one of those cases.  My list had the name Jeanette Marie Maples on it and just as I do all of the names I start searching I added that name with the word "murder" (since most of my cases are about murder) and clicked on the search button.  I began my search and almost immediately I was reminded of Sylvia Likens. I believe Sylvia's case was one of the first that I ever blogged about here because it was the one case that I think I can say haunts me.  Sylvia was tortured and beaten in Indianapolis Indiana in 1965 not just by the woman who had taken her and her sister in to board but by the woman's children and even children in the neighborhood.  Jeanette was not beaten by a neighbor woman or the children she was beaten and tortured by her own mother.  In all the years that I have looked at true crime cases I never imagined that I would find a case so close to Sylvia's in the modern age.

I often have disagreements with people when it comes to the Liken's case because it seems that people do not want to take into consideration how ways of life change over time.  In Sylvia's case the neighbor's heard her screams but they ignored them.  It was a time in which corporal punishment was given freely and a time in which people did not get into other people's business.  Although there was at least one report made to what would later be called CPS in which a nurse, as well as a minister visited the home Sylvia was staying in.  They were told at the time that Sylvia had run away and nothing was done.  Jeanette's case was different.  Her screams were heard; her bruises were seen and many calls were made to CPS to report suspected abuse.  One woman, the mother of a friend of Jeanette's, called after her daughter told her Jeanette had told her that her mother was abusing her and was told that they did not investigate second hand reports.  This was not 1965 in Indiana. This was 2007 in Oregon. The school was informed of the situation and they too made at least two calls. One came from a cafeteria worker who had been giving Jeanette food at school for quite some time until Jeanette told her they needed to stop because her mother was noticing she was gaining weight.  CPS finally sent someone to Jeanette's home where they spoke with her mother, Angela, who told them that Jeanette was a compulsive liar.  They also spoke to Jeanette's younger half sister who would admit years later that she lied to them out of fear of her mother.  CPS apparently closed the books on the situation and believed that because Jeanette was now a teenager she had the ability to fend for herself. Throughout 2009 they received several more calls made to a hotline by an anonymous person all but begging that they investigate the home and Jeanette, who was now supposedly being homeschooled by her mother but they failed to look into the situation again.

So what would have happened had they looked deeper?  Well first off they would have likely discovered that when Jeanette was a year old she and her two older brothers had been removed from their mother's care for neglect and abuse in California.  For the next six years Jeanette lived in foster care.  When she was around the age of seven she was returned to her mother's care.  By this time Angela had another daughter who was between 3 and 4 at the time of Jeanette's return in late 2000 or early 2001.  In 2002 Angela met Richard McAnulty who was an over the road driver with a young son of his own.  Angela and Richard soon married and soon had a son of their own.  While I could not determine exact what it was that Angela had to do in order to regain custody of Jeanette in the first place, my research indicated that at the time that it was considered the two older boys who had been taken wrote to the presiding judge asking not to be returned to their mother's care.  But, technically between Angela and Richard they had six children but only three of the children lived with them.  My research only slightly mentioned Richard's first son and indicated that he had not married the mother as it was said that he had remained living with his mother Lynn (or some reports say her name was Lee), until he was approximately 32 years old when he married Angela.  I found no evidence that he testified in any way at any trial so I am uncertain if he was even around to the point in which he was aware of anything going on in the house.

According to Jeanette's younger half sister, their mother almost immediately started abusing her upon her return to the family.  Angela, Richard and the children moved from California and to Oregon in 2005.  I did not find an indication as to why this move was made at all but Richard was still driving a truck over the road and not home often.  Then came December 9, 2009.... after years of abuse allegations made to authorities and only a few follow ups that were closed quickly a 9-1-1 call changed everything.  A call was placed by a woman saying that her daughter was unresponsive and EMT's were dispatched. They arrived to find this young 15 year old girl (most reports claim she was 15 with a birth date of 8-9-1994 while there are a few that claim she was a year older) in the home (some reports say the living room, others say the bathroom), with wet hair, bruises and cuts on her face and all of her front teeth had broken off.  A doctor would later describe her mouth as being "pulverized."  The EMT repeatedly kept asking her age because he could not believe this small person was supposed to be 15.  The EMT's were unable to get Jeanette to respond and transported her to the hospital but not before they themselves notified the police.  She was officially declared dead approximately 40 minutes after the 9-1-1 call.  

Authorities made their way to the hospital where they found Angela and Richard McAnulty and Richard's mother.  They also spoke with the doctors and the EMT's and were made aware of behavior they found strange coming from Angela. By the time they interview her several hours later they had already talked to everyone else, including her husband, her mother in law and her children. Angela started her interview claiming that Jeanette was so thin (she weighed 50 lbs at the time of her death) because she had fallen and split her lip and although Angela tried to feed her every day it was just too difficult.  She did admit that despite this she had not sought medical treatment for her. But then again the officer's let her know that they had spoken to the doctors and the EMT's and knew that the injuries Jeanette suffered from did not come from a fall.  Next Angela attempted to claim that when it came to disciplining the children, Richard was in charge.  Officer's quickly let her know that they had already talked to Richard and the other children and knew this claim was not true.  Pending further investigation the two younger children were placed under the state's care and both Angela and Richard were arrested for murder within hours of Jeanette's death.

Their next step was to go into the home and investigate there.  What they found only re-enforced to them that this child had been tortured and abused in that home.  The room in which Jeanette was nearly all but held hostage in simply had a piece of cardboard on the floor where it was later determined was considered for all purposes.... her bed but what they saw in the room itself was horrific.  There was splatters of blood, later determined to be Jeanette's blood on the walls, the floor and even the ceiling. They even found chunks of her skin through out the home.  

As the investigation continued and they started putting the pieces together it was decided that the death penalty would be sought when it came to Angela. As far as Richard, authorities believed that first, he was of lower intelligence and had been manipulated by Angela, although that did not get him off the hook. They also knew that up until just a few month prior to her death Richard had been gone a lot with his job but in August of 2009 he had suffered a heart attack and had emergency open heart surgery.  His recovery was not easy as he seemed to have several medical issues as well as only slowly gaining strength. But again, this did not get him completely off the hook either.  He claimed to officers that Angela did the beatings when it came to Jeanette. He said she would even turn the television up or the vacuum cleaner on to muffle Jeanette's screams and while he openly admitted that he had failed Jeanette in not protecting her her claimed to not participate in the abuse.  Jeanette's younger sister would later dispute that saying that while his abuse may not have been to the level of her mother's, that Richard did abuse them on occasion as well as enforce rules of Angela's such as forbidding food, water and the bathroom to Jeanette when Angela was not home.  

As we often see in cases, Angela pleaded not guilty and prepared for trial. However when her trial began on February 1, 2011 she decided to change her plea to guilty.  Instead of having a traditional trial in order to determine guilt or innocence basically there was a mini trial as the state still argued for the death penalty.  Among those who testified was her younger daughter.  She told stories of how Angela would make her and Jeanette gather up dog feces in the yard and then would make Jeanette stand against the wall with her arms above her head while Angela took them and smeared them on her face and in her mouth.  She testified that Jeanette was nearly always confined to her room in another part of the house and never made a part of the family.  Jeanette's sister had made attempts to get food and water to her but when she was caught Angela would not only yell at her but would torture Jeanette more.  Angela did not apparently treat her other children in the same manner however but she did little to hide the torture she enacted on their sister.  Richard's mother also testified that she herself had called CPS on several occasions.  When asked why she did so anonymously she said because she expected CPS to look into it and take care of it and she feared if Richard and Angela knew she had called she would never be allowed to see the children.  Even Richard testified.  He claimed that after Jeanette died Angela tried to convince him not to call 9-1-1 and simply burying her so that they would not get into trouble.  

The defense of course attempted to throw out some mitigating circumstances to explain Angela's actions or who she was hoping to garner some sympathy from the jury. One of the biggest things they used was that when Angela was five her mother was murdered.  The murder was never solved but according to one of her brothers they continued to live with their father who was abusive and always a suspect in their mother's murder.  Upon a little further research I am unsure that this statement is completely true.  On July 22, 1973 the body of 22 year old Nancy Feusi was found stabbed on the side of the road.  If you throw her name into a Google search you will find a few interesting things.  Most often she is claimed to be a victim of the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders, a series of unsolved murders where the actual killer is speculated to be anyone from the Zodiac killer to Ted Bundy to any number of high profile serial killers.  You will also find that in 2012, after Angela's conviction, her brother, George wrote a book about their childhood abuse and the speculation that his father killed his mother.  He also discusses Angela and Jeanette.   To be fair I have not read George's book but from the bit I did see he apparently states that he feels that because it was unsolved that his mother's murder was lumped into a group of unsolved murders and that most people do not believe this to be the case.  He claims the speculation of her killer being one of the infamous people I mentioned above was more of a cop out than anything and truly seems to believe that if the forensics were in 1973 what they are today his father would be in prison. That being said, the defense did bring this up obviously because other than that they really had little recourse.  Sure they had the fact that around the time Jeanette and her two older brothers were taken into California state custody their father was in prison for drugs and there was speculation that Angela also had her issues with them but that may have been touching too close to issues that would remind the jury that she got a second chance with Jeanette and she wasted it.  

On February 24, 2011 the twelve person jury recommended that Angela receive the death penalty for her crimes and the judge complied making her only the second woman ever to sit on death row in Oregon.  The first was a woman by the name of Jeannace Freeman who, along with her boyfriend, killed his two children in 1961.  In 1964 Oregon had discontinued the death chamber and she was re-sentenced to life in prison.  In October of 2014 her sentence was upheld on appeal.  But we should not all be completely concerned because although Oregon re-instated the death penalty in 1984 they have not executed anyone since 1997.  I have said before in other cases that I do not consider myself an advocate for or against the death penalty and think that it is a case by case basis.  However, let's just say that if this was the first death penalty case I had heard of I would be picketing outside the prison right now to speed her sentence up.

So, what happened to Richard McAnulty?  In the end he too plead guilty to failing to protect Jeanette and a judge sentenced him to a life sentence in which he must serve 25 years before being eligible for parole.  Even his mother agreed with this.  She never believed that he had actually ever abuse Jeanette but she agreed that he closed his eyes to what was happening and allowed it to happen, never protecting or advocating for Jeanette. 

In late 2011, long after Angela's trial, CPS was sued on behalf of Jeanette's estate for their own failure to protect.  All throughout the investigation and trial they had refused to comment and continued to do so when they were sued. They had already paid around $7,000 for her funeral and expenses but with little fuss in early 2012 they settled with the estate for $1.5 M. Some were upset with this because the bulk of the money, after attorney's were paid was given to Anthony Maples, Jeanette's biological father who had not seen her in over 10 years and continued to have his drug issues. Many thought, and I tend to agree that the money should have gone to her half brother and sister who were then in foster care but the law did not allow that.  Even after they agreed to the settlement the only comment that CPS authorities would make was to tell people to look at the new laws and changes they had made to their policies, many of which directly addressed the things they were accused of in the lawsuit. One of the important things was to not assume, as they had with Jeanette, that simply because a child is a teenager that they can fend for themselves, especially if there is history of abuse (something they would have known had they investigated deeper).  

In 2012 both Richard and Angela relinquished all parental rights to their son to the state which allowed him to be adopted if the situation was suitable.  Jeanette's younger sister credited her foster family and her friends for helping her get through all the issues but expressed that she did not want to be adopted.  By this time she was around 14 years old so it is understandable.

So, while in 1965 when Sylvia Likens was tortured, mutilated and abused over a period of months and little was done.... the same happened over a period of years in 2009...  and the difference is that all the important people did all the right things and yet Jeanette was still failed! If just one social worker would have investigated one of the "anonymous" calls they received the months, even days leading up to her death she would have likely lived.  Will there be changes that are actually followed through on? Or will we continue to hear the same story we always hear, there are not enough caseworkers or there are not enough resources? I guess only time will tell.

Comments

  1. I also felt this was early similar to the Likens murder. I am from OR. and the foster care system failed me as well. I do not believe in the death penalty, But in this case I can't say i'd be terribly distraught. Thank you for this article.

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