FALL RIVER, Mass. (TCD) — A father will spend the rest of his life behind bars after pleading guilty to murder in the 2020 death of his 14-year-old autistic son.
According to an investigative report published by the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate, in the early hours of Oct. 21, 2020, Fall River Police officers responded to the home of John Almond, Jaclyn Coleman, and Ann Shadburn, where they found David Almond “emaciated, bruised, and unresponsive.”
David Almond was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined he died of starvation and neglect, and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the report.
David Almond’s triplet brother Michael and his 3-year-old half-sibling Aiden were also found in the home. The report said Michael was “responsive but emaciated,” while Aiden was “well-nourished” and “unharmed.”
At the time of the discovery, the third triplet, Noah, was reportedly not in John Almond’s custody.
All three triplets were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, the report said.
Authorities said the home was in “deplorable” condition, and there were hundreds of bags of fentanyl, WJAR-TV reports.
Almond and his partner Coleman were arrested and charged with second-degree murder and neglect of a disabled person resulting in serious bodily injury.
On Monday, March 13, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn announced John Almond pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in his son’s death and was sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility after 20 years.
Coleman’s case is ongoing.
According to the Office of the Child Advocate, John Almond has a long history with the Department of Children and Families.
The triplets, who were born in Syracuse, New York, were reportedly removed from his custody three times between 2006 and June 2013 by the New York Office of Children and Family Services due to “parental substance use, parental mental health challenges, deplorable living conditions, medical neglect of the children, inadequate supervision, and a general lack of basic care.”
John Almond moved to Massachusetts in 2013, and in 2016, won full custody of the triplets. He, his partner Coleman, and his mother Shadburn allegedly lived in a small one-bedroom apartment with the triplets.
According to the Office of the Child Advocate, the decision to award Almond custody “remains a mystery to the OCA as returning custody to Mr. Almond appears not to have been the appropriate legal action under the circumstances.”
The next year, in June 2017, two reports were filed against Almond alleging neglect after his triplets had “poor hygiene, excessive absences from school, and two of them had injuries.”
An investigation was launched, but the allegations of neglect and physical abuse were not substantiated.
That same year, Almond and Coleman reportedly had Aiden, and all four children were removed from the home because of allegations of “neglect and physical abuse of the children, parental substance use, unsanitary conditions of the home, medical neglect of the children, and the triplets’ excessive absences from school.”
Aiden was reportedly transferred to a foster home, and the triplets were sent to a congregate care setting that specializes in the “care of children with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder.”
Aiden moved back in with Almond and Coleman in 2019, and in 2020, two of the triplets, David and Michael, “returned home to Mr. Almond and Ms. Coleman while remaining in the legal custody of DCF.”
At the time of his death, David Almond was reportedly a freshman at Durfee High School.
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