Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Update: Mom found guilty

Mom guilty in 3-year-old's death

MARION - Twenty-year-old Karrae Starr is looking at serving from 20 to 60 years in state prison after a Williamson County jury found her guilty but mentally ill of first-degree murder in the death of her 3-year-old daughter, Bianca, nearly two years ago.

Jurors deliberated for nearly two hours Tuesday after hearing closing arguments from State's Attorney Charles Garnati and public defender Larry Broeking.

"It was a very emotional case for the situation involved. I think the jury's verdict was appropriate. She was definitely guilty of first-degree murder," Garnati said after the verdict was delivered.

Judge Phillip Palmer, who presided, set sentencing for 9:30 a.m. May 25.

Garnati said no probation will be involved in the sentencing. Starr's mental illness finding doesn't reduce the sentence, but it will allow her a difference in state prison confinement as she will get more help, he said.

"Obviously this lady has mental problems," Garnati said.

Daniel Kay of the state's attorney general's office in Carbondale assisted Garnati with the case.

During closing arguments, Garnati and Broeking reviewed their interpretations of witnesses and evidence presented in the case, which included emergency calls to the 911 operator from Karrae Starr at Ten Oaks Apartment in Carterville on the night of Sept. 27, 2008, after she suffocated the child by covering her mouth and nose with her hand, ultimately causing the child's death by asphyxiation. The child was in bed at the time.

Also testifying on behalf of the defense was Dr. Daniel Cuneo, a clinical psychologist from the St. Louis area who said Starr was legally sane at the time of the killing, but was mentally ill. He based his testimony on psychological evaluations ordered by the court. Cuneo testified that he diagnosed Starr as having a borderline personality disorder.


I wrote about this case a long time ago, when it first happened. And I guess by continuing to do it, I am likely bouncing myself from representing her on appeal. Good thing we have a bunch of good attorneys who can handle it.

If you were not around when it happened, my connection to this case is a weird one. The sister of this girl lived at the farm in a rental property several years ago. They share a mother. I do not know if I ever met this girl, but I liked the girls that lived at the farm. Not a one of them ever had a chance to do right though. Its heartbreaking.

The Dr. Cuneo mentioned in the article shows up in almost every case in this part of the state. For him to find a mental defect that can benefit a defendant is unheard of. That suggests this poor girl's problems are severe--and having a child at 15 sure is not ideal. I guess it should not surprise me that a kid in this circumstance could crack and do something awful. Its just a damn shame.

Two more lives down the toilet


Mrs. D said...

Child abuse makes me sick to my stomach. I know some people are not right, mentally, but I just cannot see how someone can hurt a child. Makes me so sad.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

That's such a double tragedy!

Holly said...

"Not a one of them ever had a chance to do right though. Its heartbreaking."

there are so many kids that don't stand a chance. THAT is what pissed me off so bad about the whole Mandy deal. Would it have been better for this little girl to be placed in a loving home where she would still be alive and probably thriving?

It is so sad when this kind of thing happens and I firmly believe that it's often a generational downward spiral. Raising kids is .hard. work every single day and if the parents are floundering because they don't know how to do it, there is almost no way for the kids to learn a different set of behaviors.


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