Two generations prior to mine, Dr. Spock's regimen of "be your child's best friend" emerged onto the parenting scene. The parents of the age, having been raised by people who survived the Great Depression, were desperate for any child-raising technique that didn't involve huge amounts of guilt and stories about dust and shoes for dinner. The result was our parents' generation, who learned little from their parents about raising children.
Being in the age of illicit experimentation, our parents' generation discovered an innovative way of controlling themselves, and thus their kids; drugs. Thus was our generation raised, on a steady dose of Ritalin and Prozac.
Prescriptions being the only real parenting advice we received from their generation, and with CPS's Gestapo-esque "protection" of children from discipline (having stemmed, again, from Dr. Spock's research), our generation was left with the notion that the only way to control our kids was with prescription medications.
And so, we come to it at last.
This story is sad, but not surprising. I doubt that the parents had any malicious intent. Stupid though they may be, and just as guilty of murder as if they'd planned it for years, I wonder whether they truly didn't know any better. Like Lennie in Of Mice and Men's habit of petting things until they're happy, the simpletons that make up the majority of my generation habitually ply their kids with drugs over and over again to keep them under control. And when the technique doesn't work, and they keep going anyway? "I done a bad thing. I done another bad thing."
EDIT: My statements on the problems of parenting through the generations and the overreliance on medication to control children stand. As more evidence emerges, however, it seems like these particular parents went beyond mere stupidity, and was in fact either criminal negligence or wilfull and malicious intent, or both. If the allegations are true, they should be put in prison for the rest of their lives, which would most likely be very short given the intolerance of child abusers in prison; state-sanctioned execution is too good for them.