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Killpack Denied Release During Appeals
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 18, 2006

PROVO, UTAH--The mother convicted of forcing her 4-year-old adopted daughter to drink a lethal amount of water, began serving her time Friday, after a judge refused to allow her to stay at home while her appeals are heard.

Jennette Killpack, 30, was sentenced on January 6 to between one and 15 years in prison after a jury found her guilty of felony second-degree child abuse homicide. The exact length of her incarceration will be up to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.

Last Thursday, 4th District Court Judge Claudia Laycock scheduled a date during the first week of February to hear motions on both sides regarding Killpack's appeal. Laycock refused a motion by Killpack's attorney to let her remain free until then.

In the trial that ended in October, the jury heard testimony that Cassandra Killpack's parents punished her for "misbehavior" on June 9, 2002 by forcing her to stand on a bar stool with her hands tied behind her back, and making her drink a toxic amount of water.

Mrs. Killpack and her husband, Richard, had received advice from a now-closed treatment program to treat Cassandra's "reactive attachment disorder" by giving her what she wanted -- but to give her so much it would be uncomfortable for her. The theory behind the approach was that this would cause her to "bond" with her new mother.

Prosecutors said Killpack forced the girl to drink over a gallon of water as punishment for taking a sip of juice from her baby sister's cup. The large amount of water caused Cassandra's sodium levels to fall, and her brain to then swell within her skull.

Mr. Killpack was acquitted of the same charges.

Mrs. Killpack's defense attorney, Michael Esplin, claims that the couple had no idea Cassandra could die from water intoxication, that there were a number of errors in the trial, and that testimony about prior instances of child abuse should not have been allowed in the trial.

In order for Killpack to be freed during her appeal process, Judge Laycock must determine that she is not a flight risk, nor a danger to the community, and that her appeal is likely to succeed.

"Mom enters prison for girl's death" (Salt Lake Tribune)


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