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Mother gets maximum prison term

Staff writer

Former Peabody resident Katheryn Nycole Dale, 21, the mother of 19-month-old Vincent Hill, who died of suffocation and blunt force trauma March 27, was sentenced Sept. 30 to the maximum amount of prison time allowed by Kansas law for her part in her son’s death — a total of 41 months.

Dale’s live-in boyfriend, Chad Carr, 26, was arrested within hours of the boy’s death. Dale, arrested on March 30, was charged with one count of felony child abuse, one count of aggravated battery, and two counts of aggravated child endangerment. After a preliminary hearing in July, Carr was charged with first-degree murder in the case.

On July 29, Dale pleaded no-contest to one count of felony abuse of a child and one count of aggravated endangerment of a child, agreed to testify against Carr, and received a reduction in bond from $50,000 to $25,000. Dale posted bond and was released from the detention center after the bond reduction.

A defendant who pleads no-contest is not admitting guilt, but a no-contest plea results in a conviction, the same as a guilty plea. By pleading no-contest, Dale was able to take advantage of a plea agreement offered by the state. Testifying in the murder trial against Carr was part of the agreement.

She returned to court last week for sentencing on the conviction.

District Judge Joe Dickinson heard arguments from County Attorney David Yoder, who requested the most severe punishment, and from Dale’s attorney, Gregory Barker, who asked for leniency and probation.

Dickinson sentenced the young woman to the maximum amount he could under Kansas sentencing guidelines. As Dale cried at the defendant’s table, Dickinson addressed her.

“Miss Dale, you were the one person who was supposed to protect your son and keep him safe,” Dickinson said. “He was a child. You have to be accountable for what happened because you knew there had been intentional acts of violence against your child and yet you left him in the custody of someone whom you knew had hurt him before.

“You are immediately remanded to the Kansas Secretary of Corrections.”

Carr’s hearing has been pushed back again from Oct. 7 to Oct. 15.

Last modified Oct. 7, 2010

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