From a New York Times story on developments in the case of a seven-year-old girl tortured and beaten to death earlier this month:
That pattern [of violent abuse] approached its climax on Jan. 10 as Nixzmary’s siblings were compelled to accuse her of eating yogurt without permission and breaking a computer printer, prosecutors said. As punishment, they said, the girl was stripped naked, beaten, dunked in cold water and thrown on the floor to lie untended for hours in a place the other children called “the dirty room…”
Prosecutors accused Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. Santiago of maintaining an improvised torture chamber of fetid mattresses, a soiled litter box and a wooden chair tied to a broken radiator. The biological children of Mr. Rodriguez, aged 6 and 18 months, were spared abuse, but as far back as last summer, Nixzmary and three siblings, 5, 6 and 9 years old, were tied to the chair, gagged with duct tape and beaten with rulers, blocks of wood and fists by both parents, prosecutors said.
Describing the night of Nixzmary’s death, Mr. Hynes said Ms. Santiago had suggested that the girl had taken the yogurt and broken the printer, encouraging Mr. Rodriguez to investigate. He screamed at the children, demanding to know if Nixzmary was responsible. They said yes. After he beat her, dunked her head under water and threw her on the floor in the so-called dirty room, Nixzmary moaned in pain, but Ms. Santiago did not check on her for “several hours,” Mr. Hynes said.
The top charge against both parents is second-degree murder, which has a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
I would be interested to hear from anyone who can puzzle out any functional, legal. ethical or moral difference between what Ms. Santiago and Mr. Rodriguez are charged with doing to one person and what Mssrs. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have done to hundreds.