A 16-year-old boy died of alcohol poisoning after his parents tried to teach him a lesson about the dangers of drinking. According to court documents, Joseph M. and Paulette L. Richardson said their son, Kendal Balls, had been wanting to try alcohol for three years. Joseph finally agreed, telling police he wanted to make Kendal drink enough so that he would get sick in order to "teach him a lesson." The drinking reportedly began at 8:30 p.m. and ended by 10:30 p.m.
Although the amount of alcohol Kendal drank is unclear, documents noted that he had a few shots of Fireball and Jack Daniel's and some beer before he went to bed. His mom said she checked on him around 11 p.m. and Kendal gave her a thumbs up that he was fine.
The situation grew dire, however, at 3:45 a.m. when the stepdad went to check on his son and found him unresponsive. According to the affidavit, the boy's lips and eyelids were dark blue and his wrist was cool to the touch. There were also puddles of vomit on the floor. An autopsy later showed that the boy's blood-alcohol level was shockingly a .587. The legal limit in Wyoming, where the family lives, for someone 21 or older to drive is .08.
Both parents can face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. "People need to realize that there are natural consequences to their decisions," said Uinta County attorney Loretta Gerrard. "Sometimes a person's actions have tragic results and there are often criminal consequences for those poor decisions."