None of them will ever rest easy over what happened to Little Richard. Cannon says four of his fellow jurors wrestled with who should be blamed for Richard's death right up to the end. "There was so much mental anguish on the little boy, maybe that's what caused it," says Cannon, a print-shop foreman from Mesquite with seven grandchildren of his own. "But we couldn't put it on the foster parents. There wasn't any proof."
Speaking for most of his fellow jurors, Ferguson considers little Monica and Sonya's fate as happy an ending as was possible in the case. They will remain with their current foster parents, who now have a green light to start adoption proceedings. The foster father is Hispanic; the mother is Anglo. Both parents are schoolteachers. The home is bilingual. The parents, who remained anonymous during the trial and did not respond to Observer requests for an interview, have previously adopted two foster children in their care--girls who are now 13 and 14.
"Monica and Sonya were terribly young when they were removed from their home, and they have established a bond with their foster family," Ferguson says. "That was a consideration, too, you know. We considered the trauma of ripping them from yet another family. When people stopped to consider that, it brought everything into sharper focus."
A couple of days after the verdict, Raquel Sanchez could be found on the front porch of her mother's home, where her two young children were playing after school. "We're going to be all right, but it's hard," she said, and abruptly ended the conversation. Attempts to visit Lilia Sanchez were unsuccessful. In two more stops at the Sanchez home, no one would answer the door. Perhaps that is because during that week, probation officials discovered that Delia Cantu had fled the home. Her husband's lawyer, Ron Aland, feels certain she has gone to Mexico.
Delia's escape is no shock to the jurors who cut her off from her children, of course. "Did she ever really care about their safety and their happiness?" asks an indignant J.C. Cannon. "At least now people aren't going to be pushing those kids around anymore, beating on them and abusing them sexually.
"For what they put those kids through, I didn't have one damn problem facing that family down.