"The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine."
— Traditional Proverb
Ever since Carl DeBrodie, a 31-year-old developmentally disabled Fulton resident, was found dead last April, we, along with the rest of the Mid-Missouri community, have followed the sad saga.
Police found the decomposed body of the mentally challenged man wrapped in plastic and encased in concrete. His body was inside a trash container and a wooden crate in a storage unit in Fulton.
The investigation seemingly has dragged on at a snail's pace for a community that was horrified, dismayed and full of questions about the senseless crime.
DeBrodie enjoyed being outdoors, driving the riding lawn mower, go carts, fishing and baseball. He liked watching Westerns, "Cops" and "Walker, Texas Ranger," going to see the fire trucks and going to the firehouse. He loved visiting his grandparents in anticipation of the big meals they would cook for him.
Who would do such a thing to a person like this?
Now, five people have been arrested and charged in connection with his death: Anthony R. Flores, Anthony Raymond Kaulana Flores, Mary Paulo, Shaina Osborne and Sherry Kuuipo Paulo.
The arrests have started to bring a sense of closure to his family and to all of us who have followed the case.
"I'm glad the ball's started rolling," said Carol Samson, DeBrodie's aunt, in a story written this week by the Fulton Sun. "This is the beginning of a healing for the family. It's been a big toll on his mother."
But details of how DeBrodie might have died have been heart-breaking and sickening.
A civil lawsuit alleges Second Chance employee Sherry Paulo began making DeBrodie and another resident stay overnight at her house, where he was forced to perform manual labor and sleep on the basement floor.
"Carl and Resident #1 were forced to physically fight each other for the benefit and amusement of Defendant Paulo and her family, including Defendant (Anthony Flores Sr., another Second Chance employee)," said Rudy Veit, the attorney who filed the suit. "As a result of these forced fighting engagements, Carl suffered serious injuries, including at least six broken ribs. Carl also regularly suffered black eyes and other bruising, which would have been readily apparent to anyone making a face-to-face visit with Carl."
At this point, Veit's lawsuit explanation still hasn't been proven as factual — and determining the facts is why there are trials or guilty pleas.
It's hard to believe that, in this day and age, a system designed to care for people like DeBrodie could allow such horrific things as Veit alleges.
We hope those responsible for his death are brought to justice, and protections are put into place to prevent this from ever happening again.