Mother Of Burn Victim Sentenced To Probation

By: Stephanie Diffin Email
By: Stephanie Diffin Email

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October 26, 2010


A Wichita mother appeared in court Tuesday, more than a year-and-a-half after her 10-year-old daughter was doused with lighter fluid and set on fire.

The girl's former stepfather has admitted to the crime. Her mother has pleaded guilty to aggravated child endangerment.

"She has lost everything because of a bad relationship," said Defense Attorney Chrystal Krier.

Bridget Newberry has lost her marriage and custody of her children. While her attorney says it's a result of a bad relationship, others say it's fair.

"Bridget has lost everything, so now maybe she can get the help she needs and move forward. And yes, I think it's fair," said the victim's grandmother, Linda Johnson.

Johnson now has custody of her granddaughter. The girl is victim of a gruesome attempted murder in which her stepfather and Bridget's now ex-husband, Chris Newberry, admits to dousing the then 10-year-old girl with lighter fluid and setting her on fire. This, after raping her several times over the course of a year.

It was an emotional morning in court as Bridget Newberry received her sentence for what the state says she's responsible for in the case -- aggravated child endangerment. She'll serve a year probation as part of a plea agreement.

"For what she did, the role she played in this, I think it was appropriate," said Assistant Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett.

Both the prosecution and defense say it's what has happened outside the sentencing hearing that has made the biggest impact on Bridget's life.

"They are taking away her kids, which is devastating to her," said Krier.

But the woman now caring for the victim in the case says separation from her mother is what the little girl needs to recover and move on.

"She is a survivor, she is a strong survivor. And yes there's always going to be something there, but yes, I think they can all move past it," said Johnson.

Bridget Newberry did relinquish her rights as a parent, even though her attorney says Bridget didn't know of the abuse taking place. If Bridget violates probation she could serve six months in jail.

Chris Newberry has not yet received his sentence but faces life in prison without the possibility of parole for at least 38 years.


The mother of a 10-year-old girl who was intentionally set on fire received her sentence in Sedgwick County Court Tuesday.

Bridget Newberry pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated child endangerment after her ex-husband admitted to pouring lighter fluid on her 10-year-old daughter, then setting her on fire. As part of a plea agreement, Bridget will serve 12 months probation. She will only go to jail if she violates that probation, which will be for a period of six months.

Newberry has also lost custody of her children. The victim in the case is in the custody of her grandmother.

Bridget's ex-husband, Chris Newberry has pleaded guilty to arson and attempted first degree murder. He faces life in prison but has not yet received his sentence.

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