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Paroled child abuser kills son

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FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A paroled child abuser has been convicted of beating to death his 4-year-old son in a case that led California to consider notifying social workers when certain inmates get out of prison.

Douglas Haaland Jr., 27, was found guilty Thursday of second-degree murder. He faces up to life in prison when sentenced Aug. 31.

Dustin Haaland was killed in 1998 after he refused to pick up his toys. His father was on parole at the time after serving a sentence for beating his oldest son.

As a result of the boy's death, legislators passed "Dustin's Law," requiring that parole officials notify Child Protective Services when a convicted abuser violates parole. A state audit found the law would not necessarily protect children because social workers would only be notified after a violation.

Haaland's father, Douglas Sr., led the effort to pass the original law and is now pushing "Dustin's Law II," which would require CPS to be notified any time a convicted abuser is released from prison. Families of felons would also be notified of parole terms.

The law has received Senate support but awaits passage in the Assembly.

In court Thursday, Haaland Sr. wept in the gallery as the words "guilty" and "murder" were read during his son's sentencing.

"I have two people to cry for," he said.

Kathy Haaland, who pleaded guilty to child endangerment and agreed to testify against her husband, faces probation to eight years in prison when she is sentenced next week.


On the Net: State auditor report on Dustin's Law: www.lhc.ca.gov/bsa/summaries/99120sum.html