Traci Carpenter Pleads Guilty To Reduced Charge Of Child Abuse In Daughter's Death

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Traci Carpenter on Wednesday pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of child abuse in the death of her 18-month-old daughter, Sierra Carpenter.

She faces up to four years in prison at the May 19 sentencing by Criminal Court Judge Don Poole.

Ms. Carpenter had been charged with the more serious aggravated child neglect in connection with the April 2006 death.

She had testified for the state against her former live-in boyfriend, Brian Rutherford. A jury found him not guilty of murder charges.

The child's father, Josh Carpenter, died in a car wreck about a year before the death of Sierra, who had a number of injuries on her body when she was brought to the hospital.

Attorney Lee Davis said the decision was made "to plead guilty to a D felony rather than take a chance with a jury on an A felony that carries 15-25 years in prison. We felt that was in her best interest.

"Ms. Carpenter still maintains that she did not have anything to do with the proximate cause of Sierra's death."

He said the defense will ask that she receive probation.

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