One of the Worst Cases of Physical Abuse in Canada’s History:
Until Randal Dooley was six, he lived in Jamaica with his older brother, Teego, and a number of relatives. Randal’s biological father, Tony Dooley, left when Randal was one year old, moving to Canada with his new wife, Marcia. The couple sent for the boys in the fall of 1997.
Shortly after Randal started school in Toronto, Randal’s Grade 1 teacher wondered if Randal was maltreated. The first incident that caused her concern was when Randal lost a mitten. He was frantic about finding it. Randal mentioned that he would get a “licking from his mother.” By the end of the same month, Randal had a badly broken elbow. The second incident that led his teacher to notify officials occurred when she noticed Randal had welts on his arm. She took Randal to the vice-principal’s office, where they looked at his back and saw more than 25 welts. They call the Toronto police. No charges were laid at the time, however.
In April 1998, the Dooley family moved to the east end of Toronto, Mr. Dooley registered Teego at a new school but not Randal. There was no mention of another school-aged child.
Randal was found dead on the lower bunk bed that he shared with Teego on September 25, 1998. Mr. Dooley called 911 to report that his son had committed suicide. Randal’s autopsy, however, raised doubts about a suicidal cause. His autopsy described Randal as a gaunt boy, his entire body almost completely covered with welts, bruises, scratches and U-shaped marks, and with extreme internal damage, usually seen when someone has been hit by a car. Randal had four separate brain injuries, 14 fractured ribs, and a lacerated liver. His elbow had been broken in three places and his own tooth was in his stomach.
Mr. Dooley explained that in late August he had “flogged” Randal with a belt and was concerned that the Children’s Aid Society would be called. It was also reported that Marcia Dooley made Randal eat his vomit and would not let him use the bathroom. She was reported to have punched him in the head, kicked him, broken his arm by putting her foot in his back and twisting it, and to have thrown Randal against a door where his eye was struck by the doorknob and swollen shut for three days. Moreover, it was reported that Mr. Dooley beat Randal on various occasions.
Tony and Marcia Dooley were charged with second-degree murder in Randal’s death. At the trial, medical experts suggested that Randal’s vomiting and incontinence were likely a result of a brain injury. Moreover, a pediatric neurosurgeon who testified at the trial noted that in his opinion Randal’s death came from a fatal brain injury that caused a seizure.
After three days of deliberation, on April 18, 2002, Tony and Marcia Dooley were convicted of second-degree murder. Superior Court Justice Eugene Ewaschuk who presided over the case stated that Randal “may very well be the worst victim of child abuse in Canadian penal history.” Marcia received a life sentence without eligibility of parole for 18 years. Tony also received a life sentence without eligibility of parole for 13 years.
Toronto Sun reporter, Michele Mandal, wrote:
“I will never forget the horrifying sight of Randal Dooley’s body in the open casket, his emaciated frame so wasted from abuse and neglect that the tuxedo hung like clothes on a scarecrow, the purple bruises on his skin still visible despite the undertaker’s best attempts to camouflage them with heavy makeup.
But there was no covering up the appalling truth.
He was just a child, a mere seven years old, and from the moment that poor Jamaican boy landed on Canadian soil for the better life promised him by his father and stepmother, Randy was beaten and tormented, ridiculed and starved, until he was dead.”
(Source: Blatchford, 2002 and Toronto Sun)