Neglect conviction, sentence in child’s death affirmed

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The conviction and sentence of a Delaware County woman whose stepdaughter died due to neglect was not inappropriate, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Brittany McConniel was convicted of neglect of a dependent as a class A felony, after her 9-year-old stepdaughter Lauren died at IU Riley Children’s Hospital. Lauren had been brought to the hospital in an abused and emaciated state. She weighed 28 pounds at the time of her admission.

“The record reveals that Lauren’s suffering was significant and that she suffered for a considerable period of time,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the unanimous panel in Brittany L. McConniel v. State of Indiana, 18A02-1108-CR-733. “McConniel’s extremely abusive behavior toward and neglect of Lauren over a period of months is beyond shocking.”

Brown’s 34-page opinion recounts in detail McConniel’s treatment of Lauren while rejecting her arguments that the court abused its discretion in a denying McConniel’s motion for funds for expert witnesses and challenging the sufficiency of evidence and the appropriateness of the sentence in light of the offense and McConniel’s character.

“While the record reveals that McConniel does not have a criminal history, the nature of the offense and the character of the offender revealed by the evidence presented leads us to the conclusion that the sentence imposed by the trial court is not inappropriate. For the foregoing reasons, we affirm McConniel’s conviction and sentence,” Brown wrote.


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