Woman loses sentence appeal in daughter’s neglect death

A Chesterfield mother who pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent resulting in the death of her 23-month old daughter has lost an appeal of her 40-year sentence.

Kayla Hudson was convicted earlier this year of Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent causing death to her daughter, Paisley Hudson, as well as Level 3 felony neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury to her 3-year-old son. Paisley died in July 2018 from blunt force injuries to the head and deep lacerations in her liver.

Hudson’s boyfriend, Ryan Ramirez, was charged with Paisley’s murder and neglect of a dependent causing injury to the young boy. His case is currently pending and scheduled for trial in 2020.

Hudson appealed her sentence, contending the Madison Circuit Court abused its discretion when it sentenced her and that the sentence was inappropriate. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s ruling in a Wednesday decision, declining to find the trial court had abused its discretion when it refused to consider Hudson’s difficult childhood as a mitigating factor in her case.

The appellate court further rejected Hudson’s argument that the tender age of her daughter was an improper aggravator because the victim’s age was an element of her defense, noting Hudson’s challenge to the circumstance “rings hollow.”

“The trial court also noted that the abuse against P.H. had occurred over an extended period of time, that Hudson was aware of it, but she did nothing about the abuse,” Judge Rudolph Pyle III wrote for the appellate court.

Hudson admitted that she knew Ramirez had physically abused her children on multiple occasions, whose injuries were visibly apparent to hospital staff. Hudson had purchased cover-up cream and tea bags to conceal bruises and swelling on her young son the night before Paisley’s death. She also failed to immediately call for medical help upon finding Paisley unresponsive and cold to the touch the next morning.

On the issue of her sentence, the appellate court found nothing inappropriate about sentencing Hudson to an aggregate 40 years behind bars. It echoed the trial court’s observation that both children had “suffered tremendously[,]” openly and visibly, for an extended period of time in their short lives.

“Hudson admitted that she knew that her children were being abused, that she did not do anything to stop it, and that she tried to cover it up,” the panel concluded. “She also admitted that she had lied to police, both when they were conducting the initial investigation and then again just a month or two before the sentencing hearing.”

The appellate court therefore affirmed Hudson’s sentence in Kayla N Hudson v. State of Indiana, 19A-CR-01088.

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