Stepmom sentenced in baby death

October 13, 2009 1:06:42 PM PDT
A woman convicted of killing her stepdaughter is going to prison. Michelle Bearnth was sentenced Tuesday afternoon to 33 years behind bars.The sentence was determined by the same jury that yesterday found Bearnth of murder. Their options ranged from five years to life in prison.

Bearnth was convicted of felony murder in the beating death of her two-year-old stepdaughter, Kylie Perkins. Prosecutors say she beat the little girl, causing multiple skull fractures and brain swelling.

Bearnth's defense team had claimed the child fell in the bathtub. The most emotional testimony came from Kylie's biological mother, who talked about the impact of Kylie's death on her older sister, Sierra.

She said, "She loved playing with her guitar and she loved singing. She loved playing with Sierra, so it's hard. Sierra doesn't sleep at night anymore. She's terrified of what happened to Kylie."

Nearly every member of the jury wept during thed testimony when Kylie's mother talked about the day she was taken off life support.

The defense team tried to demonstrate that Bearnth would not be a danger to her own three biological children, calling her mother to the stand. She testified that Bearnth has no contact with those children, who miss their mother.

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