Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

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Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by randilynn on Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:58 pm

i have to admit. i dont remember much about this case, it was the feature trial on tru tv today.

"calista springer" was 16 years old when she died tragically in a fire that even the family dog managed to come out of unscaved. the reason calista could not make it out, was due to the choker chain (the ones used inhumanely on dogs) that was bound around her waist and secured to her bed. this girl was titled "behaviorally challenged" by her "parents" and they claimed she was chained for her own safety. however all her teachers from her last year of school testified that she was a "good student" with only few issues that needed addressed.

DCFS in their home town had done numerous investigations into the alleged abuse when calista herself opened up to a teacher about the abuse. shortly after her call for help, her parents yanked her out of public school, and she died in the fire 2 years later.

when the FD finally was able to extinguish the fire (that gutted the family home) they found calista's body, still bound to the bed with the dog choker still firmly attached to her abdomen, it was so tightly bound, she was CUT out of the choker to remove her remains for autopsy. at this autopsy, the ME found the equivenlant of 6-8 tablets of benadryl in her system (the family admits to giving her the meds the NIGHT BEFORE the fire to "urge" her to sleep.)


the reason i am rehashing this case from 2000, is that in february, 2008 the jury reached a verdict of guilty on felony child abuse and torture, however returned NOT GUILTY on 1st AND 2nd degree murder. this is another example of the injustices that face our youth. no, she was not a cutie patootie little 2 year old, but this girl was tortured for years and eventually murdered by her own parents, and denied help by the entities that we all pay to protect our children.


sentencing for calista's "parents" is set for april 16th. i will pray for some justice for poor calista, and i urge you to join me.
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Piper on Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:58 pm

Randi, Calista should not be forgotten and she deserves justice for her murder.



Calista Springer
1991 - 2008
Location Michigan
Age 16 years
Cause of Death Murder
Date of Birth 22/05/1991
Date of Death 27/02/2008


http://calista-springer.gonetoosoon.org/memorial/
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Cali on Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:04 am

Calista...may you rest in peace. You suffered too much to stay on this earth...I am sorry that you were not saved from the abuse that your parents committed. Heaven must be a lovely place, and you now have wings to take you in and out of clouds. May sunshine be in your life every day up, among nothing but goodness.
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Piper on Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:33 am

Calista was a beautiful young girl....







Anthony and Marsha Springer on the first day of their trial in the death of their daughter, Calista (Jan. 26, 2010)
Anthony Springer (front) and Marsha Springer in court March 25, 2009
Notes left after the fire that killed Calista Springer



Springers guilty of torture, abuse

Updated: Tuesday, 26 Jan 2010, 6:32 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 26 Jan 2010, 11:36 AM EST

By Henry Erb
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) - A jury in Kalamazoo has begun listening to what could be 80 witnesses over three weeks in the felony murder and child abuse trial of Marsha and Anthony Springer.

They are accused in the 2008 death of their 16-year old daughter Calista, who suffocated while chained to her bed when the family home in Centerville caught fire. She was tethered to the bed with a dog chain and plastic ties.

On Tuesday morning, the attorneys for both sides provided jurors with a road map of their competing cases. Prosecutor John McDonough told them the Michigan State Police investigation "discovered years of abuse."

"Calista reported the abuse, including being chained to her bed," St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough said.

When questioned, Sgt. Scott Leroy of Michigan State Police said he has investigated about 770 fires. But he has never found a person dog-chained to a bed.

Lawyers for the Springers counter with the argument that the parents loved Calista. They say she was a troubled child who wandered at night, was caught with razor blades, stole things and that chaining her to the bed was the only remedy that worked.

"The Springers loved Calista and they were trying to protect Calista," said Victor Bland, the attorney for Marsha Springer. "They were trying to protect her from herself. They did not want Calista to eat razor blades. They did not want Calista to eat pens. They did not want Calista to escape."

Added John Bush, the attorney for Anthony Springer: "I'm going to ask you to keep an open mind throughout the testimony."

Jurors started hearing testimony in the case, first from emergency responders who are laying the foundation for the rest of the case by recounting what they saw at the fire scene.

http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/local/kalamazoo_and_battle_creek/Trial-begins-in-Calista-Springer-case
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Piper on Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:47 am

Calista Springer may have been chained during the day, court document indicates

By Kathy Jessup | Kalamazoo Gazette
February 26, 2010, 3:00PM
Editor's note: This story was originally posted 2/26 at 7 a.m.



This photo taken in June of 2006 shows Calista Springer, left, with sisters Heather and Courtney, right



KALAMAZOO — Calista Springer was not only chained to her bed at night but also at times during the day when her mother cleaned the house.

And she had been awake on the morning that she died and was chained to the bed so her mother could run a vacuum shortly before a fire started that killed Calista in their Centreville house.

Those are among the facts of the case cited by an administrative law judge who ruled in 2008 that Calista’s parents abused her and that their names should remain on a state registry for people who abuse children.

The ruling is the first public indication that Calista may have been chained to her bed at any time other than when she slept at night. Also, it is the first publicly known evidence that Calista may have been awake at some point on the morning of the fire on Feb. 27, 2008.

The Gazette discovered the ruling this week in a file in the St. Joseph County Circuit Court’s family division. It was filed in January 2009 by Michael Mestelle, a lawyer for Anthony Springer, Calista’s father, as an appeal of the administrative law judge’s ruling.

Chief Judge Peter Plummer, of the State Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules, said he was surprised that the Gazette had obtained a copy of the ruling, which typically are filed under seal.

Plummer said privacy rules preclude officials from commenting on the contents of the findings.
On Tuesday, a jury found Anthony Springer and his wife, Marsha, guilty of torture and first-degree child abuse, but acquitted them of murder.

During the trial, Anthony Springer testified that they chained Calista at night to protect her and the family because she was prone to wandering and had exhibited violent tendencies.

Calista was 16 and the oldest of three girls. She was home-schooled while her younger sisters attended the local schools in Centreville.

The morning routine was for Marsha Springer to get the younger girls ready for school after Anthony left for work, and then have a cup of coffee while Calista slept, Mike Scott, a detective sergeant with the Michigan State Police, testified at the trial.

Scott’s testimony was based on his interview with Marsha Springer after the fire. Marsha Springer did not testify at the trial.

The ruling of the administrative law judge, C. David Jones, was based on numerous documents, which have not been made public, as well as testimony from Scott.

Jones held a hearing in Grand Rapids on Oct. 23, 2008, and issued his decision and order on Nov. 20, 2008.

In his findings of fact, Jones wrote that the Springers’ “normal practice was to chain Calista to her bed both at night when they slept, and during the day when Ms. Springer cleaned the house.”

On the morning of the fire, after the younger girls and Anthony had left for the day, “Ms. Springer was left in the house alone with Calista,” Jones wrote. “Ms. Springer claimed that she wanted to vacuum the floors. She put Calista in her bed (top bunk), chained her in, and told her she would be back in 15 minutes.”

Later in the document as he summarizes the findings, Jones wrote: “Petitioners chained Calista both at night when they slept, and during the day when Ms. Springer cleaned the house. ...
“Indeed, on Feb. 27, 2008, when Calista died in the fire it was during the day, and Ms. Springer stated she was vacuuming. Ms. Springer claimed Calista was chained Feb. 27, 2008, because Calista was still sleeping, but I do not find that credible. Mr. Springer said otherwise, and when Calista’s sisters (who slept in the same room with her) got up to go to school, they most likely woke Calista.

“This chaining at night and part of the day involved cruelty to and suffering by Calista.”
Jones’ document does not make clear when and where Anthony and Marsha Springer made their statements. The Michigan State Police did interview the Springers but those reports have not been released to the public.

Jones did not return calls seeking comment. Scott declined to comment, citing concerns about the legalities of speaking on the record about a confidential court proceeding. Marsha Springer’s criminal-trial attorney, Victor Bland, also declined to comment.

Mestelle and Anthony Springer’s criminal-trial attorney, John Bush, did not return calls seeking comment. The Gazette also was unable to reach Joseph E. Potchen, an assistant attorney general who represented the state at the administrative hearing.

St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough, who did not take office until January 2009, said he considered calling Jones as a witness during the criminal trial. However, he said he chose not to because it was “pretty clear” that testimony about a closed-door hearing would not have been admissible.

“I don’t know what went on at that hearing and any time you’re dealing with confidential hearings ... there are issues with presenting anything from those hearings in any type of public hearing,”
McDonough said. “We felt we had enough evidence with everything else that we had.”

http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2010/02/calista_springer_may_have_been.html
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Cali on Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:52 am

The mother's attorney said "They did not want Calista to escape".

Us normal people with compassionate hearts, will hear him say that and think: "Too bad she didn't escape."
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by randilynn on Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:51 am

piper, thanks for all that info in the article.

i just find it appauling that they (parents) were NOT convicted of murder. this girl would still be alive today IF they wouldnt have chained her to a bed with a dog choker. that in itself is a felony .. while committing said felony, calista was killed, that in definition, is murder.

hopefully, they will get the max sentence allowed by law at their sentencing later this week, they face life in prison for the tourture of calista and an additional 15 years for child abuse.
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Piper on Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:40 am

You're very welcome, Randi. I'm glad you brought Calista's story to our attention. I only wish someone would have come to Calista's aid sooner in her life. I hope her parents never see the light of day. This was murder.
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Estee on Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:10 pm

This poor girl obviously had problems, including her mom and dad...It's a shame they didn't seek help for her rather than abuse her further...I wonder what her siblings have to say about her treatment...Chain these two poor excuse for human beings to their jail bunk and see how they like it...I pity them when they are sentenced to gen pop...NOT...
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Estee on Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:30 am

This trial is on TRU TV.. IN SESSION now...Haven't checked that station since KC's court date...Wish I couls have seen it from the start...
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Estee on Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:58 pm

Her sister is on the stand now!!!! says she doesn't recall Calista being restrained to the bed...
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by randilynn on Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:36 pm

i dont think it should have mattered WHAT happened to calista in the years leading up to her death..


she died CHAINED to the bed, the FD had to cut her body out of the dog choker that bound her to her deathbed.. and the MOTHER put it on her that morning/night before.. that is murder, and those people should FRY!!

i have to work all day tomorrow. could someone pretty please post the sentencing details on here asap so i can check it AS SOON AS I get home??

it would be much appreciated.. my job gets in the way too much.. lol TYIA
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Estee on Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:44 pm

I'll be watching it Randi...Will let you know what happens...I was in and out all day today and just recently got back and saw your post...
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by randilynn on Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:15 pm

On Friday Anthony Springer was sentenced to ten to 15 years on the charge of child abuse and 25 to 50 years on the charge of torture.

Marsha Springer was sentenced to 95 months (nearly eight years) to 15 years on the charge of child abuse and 225 months (almost 19 years) to 50 years on the charge of torture.

Those sentences will be served concurrently.

http://www.wwmt.com/articles/friday-1375234-torture-springers.html
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Justice4all on Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:20 pm

I'm glad they were found guilty and will be in jail for a long time, but it's not nearly enough punishment for what they did to Calista.
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Justice4all on Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:41 pm

Judge issues harsh prison terms to Calista Springer's parents, criticizes child-welfare officials

By Rex Hall Jr. | Kalamazoo Gazette
April 16, 2010, 8:14PM



CENTREVILLE — There’s no doubt the state of Michigan failed Calista Springer but the abuse she suffered came solely at the hands of her parents.

That was the conclusion of St. Joseph County Circuit Judge Paul Stutesman just before he sentenced Anthony and Marsha Springer to lengthy prison sentences for torture and first-degree child abuse of their daughter Calista.

“There’s plenty of blame to go around for everybody,” Stutesman said as the spectators in the packed gallery watched intently. “I think it’s fair to say the state of Michigan failed you and your family, clearly. Those charged to protect her did not do their jobs.

“We’re here today not because of something they did though, but because they didn’t protect her from you.”

Stutesman leveled the harshest sentence against Anthony Springer, ordering him to serve 25 to 50 years in prison for torture and 10 to 15 years for child abuse. The judge sentenced Marsha Springer to 225 months (18 years, 9 months) to 50 years for torture and 95 months to 15 years for child abuse.

Their sentences will run concurrently.

A jury convicted the Springers in February on the afore-mentioned charges, but acquitted them of murder. They were charged after Calista was killed in a fire at their Centreville home on Feb. 27, 2008.

Firefighters found the 16-year-old restrained to her bed with a dog choke chain that was tightly wrapped around her waist.

The sentence handed down by Stutesman against Anthony Springer for torture exceeded state sentencing guidelines that called for Springer to serve a minimum of 135 months in prison and a maximum of 225 months. Among his reasons for the sentencing departure were that the state guidelines did not “give weight to the criminal activity that took place here,” the judge said.

“This was not one single incident but numerous incidents that occurred over years,” Stutesman said.

The judge said he was giving Anthony Springer a longer sentence than his wife because it was Anthony who devised, and implemented, the plan to chain Calista to her bed at night.

Stutesman reserved most of his remarks for Anthony Springer who, during a lengthy statement to the court, said he was sorry for Calista’s death but riled against a conglomerate of state agencies and the Centreville community who he contended failed Calista and his family.

“What we did may have been wrong and I still question that every day,” Anthony Springer said, often fighting back tears. “We were at fault for her dying in the fire ... but it was not all just on our own.

“This community is afraid to look itself in the mirror because it’s afraid to see that it failed to help our family,” he added. “In return, it’s more than happy to evict us so that it can sleep with a clear conscience at night. Society and the system that we have now are perhaps at fault as much as we are.”

The Michigan Department of Human Services began investigating allegations of abuse against the Springers in 1997. Among the multiple complaints the agency received was a report in 2004 that Calista was being chained to her bed at night.

At trial, a former DHS supervisor testified that the 2004 investigation was closed without any action taken, a decision she described as a “failure” on her part.

Anthony Springer also spoke out against his mother, Suzanne Langdon, who gave a victim-impact statement during the hearing. And he accused prosecutors of trying to “destroy” his family and said the Springers were simply a “scapegoat” for a broken system.

“The point is, the system failed Calista — it failed this family and it failed seriously,” he said. “Our sorrow has never diminished in two years. We have to live with our choices. That’s our punishment.”

Marsha Springer, who sat silently and in tears for most of Friday’s hearing, broke down as she spoke to Stutesman Friday and apologized repeatedly for what happened to Calista.

“Calista was my daughter and it was an accident,” she said. “My other two girls (and) my husband have been going through hell since my daughter has been dead ... I will carry this with me for the rest of my life and I am very sorry, your honor.”

Anthony Springer’s attorney, John Bush, told Stutesman Friday that the sentencing of Anthony Springer and his wife was the most troubling he’s ever had to prepare for. Both Bush and Marsha Springer’s attorney, Victor Bland, asked Stutesman not to exceed from the sentencing guidelines, which called for Marsha Springer to serve 57 months to 95 months for child abuse and 135 to 225 months for torture.

The Springers’ attorneys contended, much like they did during the eight-day trial, that the chaining of Calista was done as a means of protection and not harm. At trial, the defense painted Calista as a troubled child with special needs who was prone to fits of rage, stealing and wandering the house at night.

“I think they made mistakes maybe in how they tried to deal with this situation but the situation with Calista was real and it had to be dealt with in some way,” Bland told the judge Friday. “We can argue if there were better ways ... There probably was. I think the overwhelming issue is, the community knew about this, (the Michigan Department of Human Services) knew about this and certainly the schools knew about this.

“Do they have to take some responsibility for what has been a very unfortunate result? Yes.”
St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough countered Bland and Bush Friday arguing that Calista was abused for years and subjected to a daily schedule that included being chained to her bed, denied food and being treated differently than her two younger sisters. It was McDonough who asked Stutesman to exceed the sentencing guidelines for both of the Springers.

“Today, we heard the excuses, the reasons, the fingerpointing, the lack of taking accountability for his actions — to blame everyone but himself,” McDonough said of Anthony Springer.


http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2010/04/judge_issues_harsh_prison_term.html
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by randilynn on Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:14 pm

these people will NEVER get it..

they seem to forget that whenever you see fit to point your finger at someone, there are 3 pointing right back at you!!!

at least they will have PLENTY of time to think about what they have done to calista. hopefully one day, they will come to terms with the fact that they abused, tortured, and ultimately KILLED their child.

BIG props to the judge, went OUTSIDE the sentencing guidelines to assure justice for calista. i BET if they would have went with a trial by judge instead of jury, he would have convicted them of murder, and given an even longer sentence..

so much for coulda woulda shouldas.. at least there is some justice for this one.
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Piper on Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:33 pm

It doesn't surprise me the parents are blaming the system. Calista's parents did this to her and it was not an accident. She just happened to be chained to a bed unable to escape a fire. I believe the family dog made it out alive.

There is justice for Calista, but it does not make up for the torture and abuse she endured during her life. It seems her parents did not consider her "human", in my eyes. They treated her like a rabid dog.

And this, is another thing I have a problem with in sentencing: To be served concurrently..

Concurrent sentencing allows sentences for more than one crime to be served at one time. It is a less severe penalty than consecutive sentencing. When a criminal defendant is convicted of two or more crimes, a judge sentences him/her to a certain period of time for each crime. If a judge orders the sentences to be served consecutively, the sentences are combined so that whichever has the longer period is the period served.
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by blinx615 on Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:25 pm

I see a lot of people calling for a murder charge in this case and upset that they were found not guilty for murder, but murder requires intent and I certainly believe there was no intent to murder her. However, involuntary manslaughter appears to fit the bill quite perfectly; I'm not sure why they didn't pursue that charge.

Based on some of the testimony, some people appeared to be atleast somewhat frightened of Calista, based on things she had done in the past related to violent tendencies, but I can't seem to find any information about what those violent things are... It seems that the parents themselves had been so positive of her inhuman violence that they even convinced others to fear Calista. It's a rather odd situation for sure and I wonder to what extent Calista was developmentally handicapped. Unfortunately, we will never know.

What we can be sure of is that her treatment by her parents was not the best solution. Clearly, authorities should have been contacted to determine the best way to deal with Calista's special needs. Instead, the parents decided to find their own inexperienced solutions and they seem to have been extremely strong choices when things of a much lighter extent could have provided similar protection.

I'm rather surprised that these 2 parents will ever see the outside of a jail cell again, though I doubt they will have access to their other children and I don't expect they will harm any others once they have served their time and in that case, I am pleased that we won't have to pay for their incarceration any longer than that.

In any case, this is a very sad story for Calista and her family. While I feel the parents were acting with good intent, the many years of dealing with a child with disabilities and lack of interest in finding other solutions led them to extreme forms of "protection" for Calista and her family. In short, these protections were the easiest way for the family to work with Calista's issues, especially with Marsha being legally blind. The death was certainly an accident and the family, including the parents, certainly mourned the incident. Lack of love is not the problem, but not all people are blessed with the ability to make rational decisions and these parents certainly fell short of average.

I am quite simply sickened with social services for not finding this until it was too late. So many people were aware of the conditions Calista was living in and yet nothing was done about it. While Calista's parents will never hurt anyone like this ever age, social services should be penalized and motivated to do a better job of locating situations like this. Sadly, things like this are much more common than people know, but because a fire doesn't reveal it, it is never found out.

R.I.P. Calista Springer

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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

Post by Piper on Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:39 am

Hi blinx615, welcome to Reality Chatter. Many people failed Calista, it's a very sad and tragic situation. And you are absolutely right, there are many other children and adults living in this type of environment that people are never aware of.
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Re: Calista Springer -- Found Deceased 2/27/08

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