GUTHRIE — Jurors found an Edmond woman guilty of child abuse Monday in connection with the death of her 2-year-old foster child and recommended she pay a $5,000 fine but suggested no prison time. The district attorney had hoped for a stiffer punishment.
Amy Holder, 40, of Edmond, was convicted of abusing Naomi Whitecrow, who died after four months in foster care with Holder.
Naomi and a sibling were taken from Kala Whitecrow, their biological mother, in February 2008. Naomi went to live with Holder in September 2008 and died Jan. 20, 2009.
The jury reached the verdict about midnight Monday, Logan County District Attorney Tom Lee said Tuesday.
“Our office is happy that the defendant was found guilty of child abuse,” Lee said. “Obviously we are disappointed that she was not sent to prison, however we respect the jury's work and its decision in a very difficult case.”
Jurors began deliberating about 2 p.m. Monday.
Wanada Redhat, 57, Naomi's great-aunt, said she was devastated by the recommended sentence.
“We couldn't believe it,” she said. “She (Holder) doesn't need to be taking care of any other children. She's a danger to children, and I wouldn't want any other child put in her care. She's likely to do it to another baby.”
Redhat said she plans to gather family members to write letters to the judge, asking for a harsher sentence. “The whole deal was a shock,” she said. “It's very heartbreaking.”
Kala Whitecrow could not be reached for comment.
Scott Adams, Holder's attorney, said his client will appear at the sentencing hearing Nov. 3 with a check to pay the fine.
“The truth is there are no winners in this case,” Adams said. “What the jury was trying to tell everyone was my client was negligent in some regards, but not with her death.”