"Do not sit there and call her a bad mom cause that's not what she is."

Not being a parent, I am hesitant to judge other people's parenting skills. But an appalling news story I read earlier just gave me the creeps:

A mother is accused of murdering her three-year-old son whose charred body was found in her oven.

Terrie A. Robinson, 24, from Mississippi, was arrested yesterday after police found her son Tristan's burned body inside the electric oven at her apartment.

Washington County Coroner Methel Johnson said the child had been burned in the oven, but an autopsy was ordered to determine whether he died before or after being put there. 

The child's body was still warm when it was removed from the appliance.

There's a booking shot which shows the mother weeping.

What especially got my attention was to read that I should not be judging the woman's parenting skills: 

Terrie Robinson's twin sister, Sherrie Robinson, told WXVT-TV that people should not judge her sister before all the facts are known. 

She said: 'She was a great parent, a good person. We don't know what's wrong.

'We don't know what happened. Do not sit there and call her a bad mom cause that's not what she is.'

The story has attracted a great deal of attention, and a lot of concerned people are clearly facing challenges in resisting the temptation to be judgmental:

This is a horrific story that certainly has parents trembling and wondering how a loving mother could ever do such a horrible thing to a helpless 3-year-old little boy. The stress of parenting can most definitely be overwhelming at times, but it doesn't seem like a sane person would ever let it get this out of control!

I'm going to stick my neck out and say that it doesn't seem that way to me either.

It's tough to see how this could have been either an accident or a suicide. Voluntarily or involuntarily, it would be difficult to fit the average three year old into an electric oven. Nor are small children prone to suicide; the youngest suicide I could find was age six. But suicide by self-roasting does not strike me as even theoretically  possible in the scientific sense. I can't see how it would be possible under any circumstances for a kid to stuff himself into a hot oven, shut the door, and burn himself to death. And stuffing a live and kicking toddler into a kitchen oven would be nearly impossible. It seems highly likely that the child had to have have already been dead (or at least rendered unconscious when he was placed in there.

So, while I am not supposed to be judgmental, harsh as it sounds, I think that if the mom was home at the time, it is reasonable to suspect that at the very least, less than stellar parenting skills were involved. An autopsy can most likely determine whether he burned to death or was already dead, as well as whether the head injuries were post-mortem.

What annoys me the most about the sister's attitude is that it reflects a societal tendency not to blame people for anything, even their own actions. (As an example of what I see around here, when people steal electricity via illegal hookups which cause children to be burned to death, activists turn right around and blame the power company.)

While it's tough to find an externality to blame for a dead child in an oven, you can be sure that if the boy were found dead of a gunshot wound, guns and "the gun culture" that promotes the "easy availability" of firearms would be blamed.

It's tough to say that about a stove, isn't it?

I'm just glad to see that so far, no one has blamed the oven manufacturer, or the landlord. Much less the culture of "easy availablity of ovens." Or the Tea Party.

posted by Eric on 03.03.11 at 11:57 AM


That woman, that ugly, killer, isnt crying because of what happened to her toddler, that b**** is crying because she got caught by the cops,and is probably going to spend the rest of her sorry life in a State prison.

And if one ever watches these lowlifes on the evenin gnews, their relatives always seem to insist that said lowlife was a good parent, or are totally innocent.

Daniel FieldingSmith   ·  March 3, 2011 4:59 PM

"Mr Johnson said a little girl found in the home was placed in the care of the Mississippi Department of Human Services." I wonder what 'the little girl' saw and heard - or did?

I suspect mama was the perp, but I've seen kids do some pretty nasty things. So, I'll withhold the 'hang her' reaction for a bit.

Kathy Kinsley   ·  March 3, 2011 6:49 PM

The reason their relatives always say the perp was a "good parent" is because they don't have the faintest clue what a "good parent" actually is.

John S.   ·  March 4, 2011 9:58 AM

The "don't be judgmental card" ...same song, different verse as the "race card."

IOW, she did wrong & knows it.

esurio   ·  March 4, 2011 6:46 PM

This story makes me more than just a bit ill...

Only one possibility exists that I can think of could say the "mom" didn't kill her own child. But it still doesn't make her a good parent.

It is possible for a three year old to fit in a stove. What if it was too cold in the apartment & he turned the oven on and crawled in there to keep warm (Far-fetched, I know, but possible). A three year old would understand how to turn it on, but not know how high was "too high"...

Even if that was so...no person whose ever had a three year old would let them out of sight for more than 10 minutes(And even that is TOO long!)

Long enough to be charred??? Think about the last turkey any of you cooked....

flicka47   ·  March 5, 2011 1:52 AM

I am a parent and stories like this cause my radar to go off. While there are always possibilities about what may or may not have happened I find that in these situations applying some common sense works. I have 3 kids they were all 3 once none of them would have been able to turn on the oven, crawl in, shut the door and cook themselves to death. I suppose if I was not home or unconscious for several hours maybe. But in any scenario saying "she's not a bad mom" is ridiculous. Loving your children and killing them do not seem mutually exclusive (see Susan Smith or Diane Downs). What do people expect? This womans child died in a horrific way, in her home and under her supervision. Am I now to believe this makes her a good mom? I suppose that crying in your mugshot means your sorry and all is well. She had good intentions and did her best so I should feel compassion? Seriously? I understand the grief and shock of her family but defending her by asserting she's not a bad mom because she loved her children is reprehensible.

Heather   ·  March 5, 2011 9:28 PM

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