Tuesday, February 28, 2012
A Hutchinson woman who used a hair dryer to warm her infant daughter on a frigid night has avoided a prison sentence.
Reno County Judge Trish Rose sentenced Brigit Hippen to probation after the mother pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter charges last month.
Prosecutors had originally charged Hippen with second-degree murder in the February 2010 death of 2-month-old Karina Perez, but her first trial ended in a hung jury.
Hippen was accused of causing the baby's death by placing a hair dryer near the baby's basinet to blow hot air on the child, then falling asleep for three hours. Doctors have said Karina had a temperature of 108 when she died.
Prosecutor Cheryl Allen was displeased with the outcome.
"I'm not happy at all," Allen said Tuesday. "I agreed to not make a recommendation of prison to the judge, but that did not mean I was agreeing she should only get probation."
Defense Attorney David Harger concluded that the right decision was made.
"I don't have a response for Ms. Allen," Harger said. "I think the judge made a very careful decision. She announced her decision with great specificity."
Judge Rose cited several reasons for granting probation for Hippen. First, that she was not a threat or danger to society. Second, there was no reason for reform in a prison setting in her case. And third, that she has a sufficient support network at home with family and friends.
As a condition of the probation, Rose ordered Hippen not to have any sole supervisory role for any children under the age of 10. The condition does not include any of her own children.
Hippen currently has another criminal case pending against her, in which prosecutors charged her with misdemeanor battery. They allege she punched a woman in the face for dancing with her boyfriend and then damaged the woman's car.