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Parents Charged In Wyoming Teen’s Death After Trying To ‘Teach Him A Lesson’

Paulette and Joseph Richardson. Photo credit: Uinta County Sheriff’s Office

A Wyoming mother and stepfather have been jailed after their teenage son died of alcohol poisoning – a result of trying to “teach him a lesson” about the dangers of drinking.

Kendal Ball, 16, died at his home in Urie, Wyoming, on July 7. His parents, Paulette and Joseph Richardson, were charged with involuntary manslaughter last week.

Ball expressed an interest in drinking for the last 3 years, which concerned the Richardsons that he would follow in his alcoholic biological father’s footsteps. So to prove a point about the dangers of drinking, they got him sick.

The Richardsons encouraged Ball to drink multiple shots of Fireball and Jack Daniels over a span of 2 hours before putting him to bed.

Paulette Richardson says her son gave her a “thumbs up” when she checked on him at around 11 p.m. But when Joseph Richardson checked on Ball at 3:45 a.m., the teen was unresponsive with dark blue, cool skin.

Ball had a blood alcohol content of 0.587 at the time he died – about 7 times the legal limit for drivers.

If convicted, Paulette and Joseph Richardson face up to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors are still deciding whether to charge a friend who was at the home that night.

“I am not here to make parenting decisions for people,” said Loretta Gerrard, Uinta County Attorney. “What I hope people understand, however, is that some traditional parenting lore, wives tales, or theories don’t apply in an age where we have refined products that accelerate the effect of chemicals on the human body.”

Sheriff Doug Matthews said Tuesday the Richardsons remain in the county jail.

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