Judge Declares Mistrial In Infant Death Case

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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Friday, August 26, 2011

A Reno County district court judge declared a mistrial Friday afternoon in the case of Brigit Hippen, after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

Hippen has been charged in the death of her 3-month-old daughter, Karina Perez, who died of hyperthermia when Hippen used an electric hair dryer to warm her.

A new trial date has not been set.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Brigit Hippin, 19, sobbed loudly Wednesday as a prosecutor showed a jury the autopsy pictures of her 3-month-old daughter. Little Karina Perez, just 3-months-old, died in February, 2010, when Hippin used an electric hair dryer to warm the baby.

Hippin's trial began Wednesday in Reno County District Court, where registered nurse Melissa Pitzer testified that Hippin told her that she had gone to bed with the baby, but that the little girl spit up and soiled her clothes in the middle of the night.

She undressed the baby, leaving it in only a diaper, but felt that the baby was too cold. Karina was placed in a basinet in the bathroom, where Hippin admits that she placed the hair dryer about 18 inches from the girl's feet and turned it on. But then she went back to bed and fell asleep.

For more than three hours, the baby lay in the bed with the hot blow dryer aimed straight at her. By the time Hippin woke up, the baby was dead.

Gruseome pictures were displayed for the jury as a coroner described the girl's injuries. Hippin, meanwhile, sobbed uncontrollably.

One police officer even testified emotionally that the deceased baby still had a smile on her face when he saw her in the emergency room. The nurses told the jury that the infant's skin literally peeled off the bone as they tried to work on her.

Ultimately, jurors will have to decide on their conscience. Neither side in this case disputes the facts of the case. Hippin is charged with 2nd degree murder, which is the unintentional, reckless killing of a human being. The defense, however, claims the death was completely accidental.

Defense Attorney David Harper would not say Wednesday whether he plans to allow Hippin to testify in her own defense. However, prosecutors are expected to call the girl's father, Oscar Perez, to the stand on Thursday. Because he's currently in jail on an unrelated crime, Perez could not be called to the stand on Wednesday.

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