Kelli Stapleton, a Northern Michigan mom who tried to kill her autistic daughter Isabelle and herself, has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of first-degree child abuse, MSN is reporting.
In a plea entered Tuesday morning in Benzie County Circuit Court, Mrs. Stapleton avoided a trial for attempted murder. Nevertheless, she is still facing life in prison, according to Benzie County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Tang-Anderson. It’s a sentence Mrs. Tang-Anderson hopes Mrs. Stapleton receives.
A conviction of this felony carrying a maximum penalty of life in prison, and the prison sentence we expect it to carry is the right resolution for the community, the defendant, and our victim, Isabelle.
Kelli Stapleton had kept a blog detailing the difficulties she and her family had faced in raising a child with autism, according to Daily Mail. As a very small child, Isabelle (known affectionately as “Issy”) rarely slept. It was only when she was put on medication, at age 8, was she able to focus and remain calm. Still, she was prone to violent outbursts; twice she beat her mother into unconsciousness, and her younger sister Ainsley was so terrified of Issy’s outbursts that she hid in her room for her own safety. Issy was also violent toward her classmates at school, to the point that her parents made the decision to pull her out of regular school and place her in the Great Lake Center for Autism Treatment in Potage, Michigan.
While people with autism can be prone to violence, they are also often targets of violence: see Florida Teen Arrested After Video Of Him Viciously Beating An Autistic Boy Goes Viral On Facebook – Inquisitr.
Despite Issy’s progress, Kelli was at her “wit’s end” with Issy’s behavior. She would later tell hospital workers that she felt it would be best for her and her family if Kelli and Issy both “went to Heaven.” Detective Rick Sekely told Michigan Live:
“[Kelli Stapleton] intended to kill her daughter and commit suicide and it was basically because of all of the years of frustration with her daughter’s autism and her behavior.”
Prosecutors allege that on September 3, 2013, Kelli told Issy that the two were going to go camping and eat s’mores. Instead, Mrs. Stapleton gave Issy extra medication to put her to sleep, and then lit a charcoal stove in the family’s van, believing that carbon monoxide poisoning would kill them both. Both Kelli and Issy likely would have died had Kelli not opened the van door to get more charcoal, letting fresh air in. Still, Issy spent four days in a coma, and her recovery has been described as “miraculous.”
As of this post, no sentencing date has been set.
What punishment do you think Kelli Stapleton should get for trying to murder her autistic daughter? Let us know below.
Image courtesy of: Heritage Broadcasting