The Death of Jeffrey Baldwin
Elva Bottineau (53) and Norman Kidman (53) are on trial for the death of their grandson Jeffrey Baldwin who died Nov 30, 2002.
Revelations from the trial indicate that Jeffrey and his sister were horribly abused while their two siblings were well relatively
cared for and favored by their guardians. Bottineau and Kidman were given custody of the four children after they were taken
away from their mother, ironically, due to concerns of child abuse under her care. The Catholic Children’s Aid Society
failed to check their files on the defendants that date back to the 1960’s—detailing prior convictions for child
abuse. Both Bottineau and Kidman have both pled not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and their lawyers have asked
for the charges to be reduced to second-degree murder or manslaughter—while rejecting charges of unlawful confinement.
Defense lawyer Anil Kapoor spoke candidly saying that, “the fact that there is a lock on the door is not forcible confinement…
it may be bad and awful parenting, but that’s a separate issue.”
When police returned to the Jeffrey’s home to investigate, Bottineau snapped at officer Michael Davis when he asked
for to see “the lock”. “It’s not a lock,” she said, “I’ll get it.” She then
returned with an improvised locking mechanism made from a hook and eyelet. Davis went on to describe Bottineau as being of
“marginal intelligence”. (She had earned six diplomas through an Internet school for subjects including: child
psychology, police sciences and legal assistance—the diplomas were displayed on the walls in the home.)
“the fact that there is a lock on the door is not forcible confinement… it may be bad and awful parenting, but
that’s a separate issue.”
The defense argues that there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that the death of Jeffrey Baldwin was deliberate and premeditated
(which would need to be proven to warrant first-degree murder charges). Kapoor added that, Jeffrey’s confinement was
“too remote” to validate first-degree murder charges. To further his client’s defense, Kapoor pointed out
that it was Jeffrey’s guardians who initially called paramedics as he was dying.
Having these charges lowered would mean the difference between an automatic life sentence (with the no chance for parole until
twenty-five years served); or eligibility for parole after serving 10 years, for the lesser charge.
When paramedics found six-year-old Jeffrey’s thin, sore covered body, he was already dying of septic shock and bacterial
pneumonia as a result of being left to sleep in a bedroom covered in his feces and urine. Jeffrey died two months before his
sixth birthday and weighed less than 10 kilograms—he had weighed more at twelve months old.
The day after his death, police officers found the room cleaned, painted and filled with toys that weren’t Jeffrey was
affored when he was alive.
During the trial Kidman’s lawyer, Catherine Glaister, argued that Kidman had “very little interaction with the
children,” since he was often at work. “His condition would have been obvious to anyone observing or seeing Jeffrey
prior to his death,” she told Judge Watt. “Could the death have happened without Mr. Kidman’s participation?
Yes. Mr. Kidman’s participation was not essential to the death.”
In a video taped interview with Detective Kimberley O’Toole, Jeffrey’s older sister spoke of Jeffrey and his other
sister being locked in their room at night and forced to use the room as a bathroom. Bottineau would then force the two children
to clean up the room the following morning.
When the children weren’t working fast enough, Bottineau would beat them with the handle of a mop, while saying, “Hurry
up, hurry up, you pig”.
In the days before Jeffrey’s death, she knew something was very wrong because “he could hardly walk”. She
also went onto explain how she was instructed not to talk about Jeffrey at school because it was cause the teachers to investigate.
Another witness to these events was James Mills, the boyfriend of one of Jeffrey’s aunts. He went on to testify that
he was aware that Jeffrey was in danger and witnessed him being treated worse “than a dog”. However Mills did
not intervene because he feared losing his free housing in the family’s home. He provided further testimony recalling
a conversation with Bottineau in which she spoke of how Jeffrey and one of his sisters generated $600 a month in social-assistance
payments. The court heard further evidence that indicated Kidman and Bottineau would have given up custody of Jeffrey and
a sister if it weren’t for the fear of losing the other two siblings—the favored ones.
Jeffrey and his sister were the “bad ones”, his older sister testified. While she and her younger brother were
the “good ones”.
In Bottineau’s diary she wrote of how she “feel in love” with Jeffrey’s older brother who described
as “a fine and handsome little boy… who stole my heart”.
“If anything was to happen to me or grandpa,” Bottineau wrote, [the good ones] are to stay with [their aunts]…
Both aunts are to treat them both the same — not one better than the other.
“As far as Jeffrey and [his sister]—if they are old enough, they can go on their own… neither aunt want
these two because of their disgusting habits they have embedded in them … raised to be little pigs and can’t behave
Courtroom spectators were in tears as they heard evidence of Jeffrey being order to sit in “the pig corner”, forced
to use his fingers to eat a bowl of food.
The prosecution, led by Beverley Richards and Lorna Spencer, argued that the grandparents should not be acquitted of the first-degree
murder charge since the “conclusion can be reasonably drawn that both, individually or as partners, caused Jeffrey’s
death.” Richards went on to argue that the evidence shown during the trial indicated “it would be clear to anyone
he needed medical attention,” (Jeffrey was so weakened that it took him almost 10 minutes to walk up the stairs in his
home.) Richards concluded that the grandparents failed to “provide the necessities of life”.