Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Kids accused of plot to kill

Police say they planned to stab grandmother

By David Jacobs
The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — A brother and sister, ages 11 and 10, had poured kerosene in a bedroom and laid out 10 knives as they prepared to stab their strict grandmother and two siblings to death, authorities said.

Judith Follette
Judith Follette
        The kerosene started a fire that the pair thought would make the deaths look accidental, a detective said. But the smoke woke up one of the other children, who roused the others in the rural Franklin County house. All escaped without injury.

        The grandmother, Judith Follette, said the 10-year-old girl told her of the plan as the family ate breakfast at a restaurant Monday.

        “She said he wanted to kill us. His plan was to kill us and take my car over and live with my ex-husband,” Ms. Follette, 52, told the Columbus Dispatch.

        “Apparently, they had planned this for some time. That gave me a cold chill.”

        Lawyers for the pair entered innocent pleas Tuesday in Franklin County Juvenile Court to delinquency counts of aggravated arson. The children, identified in court records as Amber Thibodeaux and Jimmy Thibodeaux Jr., were being held in juvenile detention and did not appear in court. If convicted, they could be in state custody until age 21.

        The children can't be sentenced to prison because they are too young under Ohio law.

        Ms. Follette said the children thought she was too strict.

        She said the 11-year-old boy especially has been angry with her because she has been using tough-love tactics to get his respect, including timeouts, groundings and forcing him to stand in the middle of the room on one leg.

        Sheriff's Detective Al Judy said the children have been on strong anti-depressant medication. He does not think they understand the consequences of their actions.

        “Their idea was the house was too small and they wanted to go live with Grandpa,” he said Tuesday.

        He said the fire was started in the 10-year-old girl's bedroom with kerosene and candles.

        “We filed the charges because we hope they receive some obviously needed counseling,” Det. Judy said. “Their mom and dad are out of state and Grandma was doing the best she could.”

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