Hutchinson Woman Will Face Trial For Daughter's Death

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hutchinson woman has been bound over for trial in the death of her infant daughter. Brigit Hippin, 19, is accused of killing her baby with a hair dryer. She will face a charge of 2nd degree murder in the baby's death last February. Judge Joe McCarville said the prosecutor had presented enough evidence to proceed with a trial.

Hippin took her 3 month-old baby, Karina, to Promise Regional Medical Center on the night of February 23, 2010. The baby had severe burns and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.

A local pediatrician who cared for the baby testified that the infant's injuries were so severe that its skin had started to separate from its body. Hippin would later tell the doctor that the baby had been ill and that she noticed her feet were very cold. The doctor testified that Hippin told him that she placed the baby in a bassinet next to a hair dryer and turned it on to warm the baby.

Hippin would later tell a police detective that she accidentally fell asleep and woke up about three hours later. When the baby was brought to the hospital, the doctor testified that its internal temperature was 108 degrees.

According to state statute, the charge of 2nd degree murder alleges that the killing was "done recklessly and that the circumstances showed extreme indifference to the value of human life." The charge does not allege that Hippin killed the baby intentionally.

Hippin's attorney, David Harger, argued that the facts of the case show the opposite. He said Hippin showed extreme care for the baby by taking it to the doctor twice in the previous days because she was sick and that she had been providing the baby with prescribed medication for bronchitis.

A jury trial is scheduled for March 7, in Reno County District Court. If convicted as charged, Hippin would face a sentence of around nine years in prison.

Interestingly, the Reno County District Attorney originally charged Hippin with involuntary manslaughter, which carries a much lighter sentence that 2nd degree murder. However, after reviewing the case, assistant DA Cheryl Allen raised the charge.

Harger told KAKE's Jared Cerullo after the hearing that the charges are trumped up and that the district attorney's office is not charging cases fairly. Harger referenced a case last year in which no charges at all were brought against a man who allowed two children to ride in the bucket of a tractor while taking them home. The children fell out of the bucket and were killed by the tractor.

It's the same thing, Harger said. "A young adult and an accident. Both were terrible, tragic accidents," he said.

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