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Mother of murdered infant sentenced to 60 days in jail


A judge this morning ordered a mother to serve 60 days in jail because she failed to report her infant daughter's suspicious injuries in the weeks leading up to the girl's death at the hands of her father. Judge Paula Martin sentenced Brandi Mae Hendrickson to a one-year jail term but said she would be released on parole after 60 days. She also will be released from jail for work and counseling as she tries to regain custody of her older daughter.Hendrickson's 5-month-old daughter, Risha Lafferty, died in October 2005 with a fractured skull and signs of being shaken. Earlier this year a jury convicted the baby's father, Jay D. Decker, of first-degree murder.Hendrickson initially was charged with felony child endangerment because she saw some of the injuries and didn't report them, but she pleaded to a misdemeanor as part of a deal to testify against Decker. Defense attorney Kay Huff had asked Judge Martin to give Hendrickson a non-jail sentence. She said her client was naive, had a below-average I.Q. and made decisions slowly- factors that she said might account for Hendrickson's failure to call the authorities when the baby turned up with injuries while she was at work and Decker was babysitting. "Ms. Hendrickson understands fully that her baby paid the ultimate price," Huff said. "Society's judgment is very harsh on mothers in Ms. Hendrickson's position."Assistant Dist. Atty. Brandon Jones asked the judge to impose a 12-month jail sentence.Martin said she considered factors including Hendrickson's mental ability, her cooperation with the state, and the fact that if she had been convicted of a felony, she likely only would have served probation under state sentencing guidelines. -contributed by [Eric Weslander.][1] [1]: http://www2.ljworld.com/staff/eric_weslander


Kornphlake 11 years, 6 months ago

Please Marion, you are so full of it. You can operate a grow house full of weed and only get probation.

redfred 11 years, 6 months ago

Have to love these sentencing guidelines where you can get more jail time for a misdomenor than a felony for the same crime.

Raider 11 years, 6 months ago

The thing that kills me on this is that they are going to allow this woman to seek cusotdy of her older daughter. This POS should never see her other child again. Ever!

FormerCentralKansan 11 years, 6 months ago

Talk about a sweetheart deal! This gal needs to be thanking her lucky stars the courts turned a blind eye to her behavior and gave her a slap on the wrist. She gets 60 days of R & R while her co-conspirator gets the brunt of the punishment. I think a more appropriate punishment would be sterilization---she should NEVER be allowed to have kids again.

Ragingbear 11 years, 6 months ago

A judge on Wednesday sentenced a Eudora man to 41 months in prison for snatching a purse earlier this year at a business on Sixth Street.

Yeah.... This sounds about right. Probably the infant facillitated it's death by crying or some other idiotic BS Paula Martin is known for.

rollcar 11 years, 6 months ago

Let's keep in mind here that while this lady certainly could have helped in preventing this murder, she did not commit it. If anybody's a POS in this story, it's the father.

I'm not saying 60 days is an appropriate punishment for allowing it to happen (which she did), but the fact is that one of these people murdered a child and the other one did not. Hindsight is 20/20.

mom_of_three 11 years, 6 months ago

No, Marion, she didn't necessarily know the child was being abused. One bruise, maybe two injuries and that could be normal for a growing child. Yes, she should have suspected, but she didn't.
Since we were not in her situation or in her shoes, we don't know what she actually knew.

MyName 11 years, 6 months ago


I dunno what you're talking about with 50 years. If you're refering to the Neighbors, the penalty they're looking at is not more than 10 years. And the woman didn't kill anyone, it was the father. The woman is a moron, and a bad mother, but spending a year in prison isn't going to make her any smarter or improve her parenting skills.

Raider: She's the mother, she has a right to try to get some custody. I don't think she's going to get anything more than some visitation, but this is not the kind of right that can be taken away without looking at the situation closely.

Buggie7 11 years, 6 months ago

She will get visitation. Thats our judicial system. It goes back to the John whitehead case that recently he was brought up on charges against yet another small boy. How many kids does it take to get hurt in our county for the judicial system to stick up for them???? Again in the John Whitehead case th magic number of 60 days in Jail and probation came through again. It seems to be the judges back fall in Douglas County when they dont want to have back bone. This woman as well as Mr Whitehead go to therapy and such but they need to sit and think about what theyhave done and what they could have done to protect children rather than harm them.

midwestmom 11 years, 6 months ago

MyName -

 Unfortunately, you are probably wrong on just how much "custody" the natural mother is likely to get back of the older child.  Over and over again, children are returned to their natural parents in spite of their inability to appropriately care for and keep them from harm.  It makes headlines everyday - the mother's defense attorney makes the best case for a permanent termination of parental rights - "She said her client was naive, had a below-average I.Q. and made decisions slowly- factors that she said might account for Hendrickson's failure to call the authorities when the baby turned up with injuries while she was at work and Decker was babysitting.

"Ms. Hendrickson understands fully that her baby paid the ultimate price," Huff said"

So, is she then now considered capable of making responsible, ethical decisions for the care and safety of her remaining child? Probably not. Say prayers for the remaining child. Pray the mother loves her child enough to voluntarily give up custody permanently and that the child is placed in a loving, permanent home.

Confrontation 11 years, 6 months ago

I completely agree with Ragingbear. I'm sure Judge Paula Martin felt that Risha played an active role in her own death. Darn that baby for crying!

KsGirl 11 years, 6 months ago

Mom_of_three: I have NEVER seen a 5 month old baby with bruises like the police reports state this infant had. As far as a growing child, 5 month old babies shouldn't be falling down or walking into tables as is normal for a growing child old enough to walk or teeter around the room.

acg 11 years, 6 months ago

KsGirl is right. A 5 month old should never exhibit extensive bruises like a toddler or small child. And, when my daughter was 5 months old I noticed everything. Every little bump, scratch or spot of diaper rash. I can't imagine, being a mother, seeing bruises on my 5 month old kid and not freaking out about it. It sounds to me as if this stupid B was more concerned about the man than her child. If that's the case, she deserves to rot in prison for the rest of her life. That child is dead. Dead is forever. 60 days in jail? Judge Martin should be ashamed.

Ceallach 11 years, 6 months ago

I noticed Martin appeared to give her the sentence requested by the DA's office, then allowed for her to have parole after 60 days. It's shameful! Brandi Mae could have received counseling while in jail for 1-year (which is also a totally lame sentence).

KansasKel 11 years, 6 months ago

I'm still just trying to figure out why the mother, the father, and the baby all had different last names.

ksdivakat 11 years, 6 months ago

I am so mad at this I could spit!I cant believe this. I have a family memeber who spent 18 mo in the prison system for 4.9 grams of marijuana. She was in the county jail with a woman whose "boyfriend" had killed her son. Split his liver, she saw the autopsey photos and the 24 mo had over 200 bruises on him, that mom got 1 year in the county and was let out before that year, while my family member did 18 mo for an 1/8 of weed! Has our society become so disassociated with life that the murder of an innocent child is not as important as the person who smokes a joint???!!! Let us remember that these judges are "elected" officials and can be voted out just as easy as they were voted in, the problem is that people in this town dont have the kahunas to stand up against the corupt police dept here and the corupt court officials. All these judges and DA's and prosecutors and even regular attorneys socialize together, they are all each others soccer coaches or football coaches....This town better get wise or the next person that might get strung up could be you!

Mike Blur 11 years, 6 months ago

Considering how court systems in general are heavily slanted in favor of women and mothers, this sentence is surprisingly (and welcomingly) harsh.

May LJW posters like to link Paula Martin with sentence leniency, but trust me on this - with the court system's setup, Martin in effect threw the book at her.

F.C.K. has it right - sterilization should have been part of the sentence. "Brandi Mae" probably will breed again, particularly if by some amazing circumstance, she fumbles the opportunity to regain custody of her older kid.

(Courts are so skewed, accesories to murder like "Brandi Mae" stand a better-than good chance of regaining custody ofbiological children.)

Mike Blur 11 years, 6 months ago

PS ksdivakat: concerning judges.

You are inaccurate in saying that judges are "elected in." I don't want to go back into reviewing seventh-grade social studies material, but maybe you slept in school--so I have to, just for a bit.

Depending on the judgeship, judges are selected by committees, caucuses, congressional committees, etc. They are then approved by a governing entity, typically the governor or President.

Judges are then subject to retention elections. Nearly all judges are retained--and most by incredible margins, like 95%-5% in favor. Even Paula Martin - who was the target of a recent retention election - won by about 70-30.

I would wager that you probably voted to retain Martin in the last election, ksdivakat--even though you probably didn't realize it.

I personally have voted to REJECT every single judge who has been presented to me for retention since I became eligible to vote in 1982. Statements like yours, ksdivakat - "they can be voted out just as easy as they are voted in" - are hollow statements, easy to say, but are wholly inaccurate.

Ceallach 11 years, 6 months ago

gnome: wherever it will be most effective in getting her attention :)

How are you doing big guy? Long time, no chat. I have news for you so check you "home" account.

bearded_gnome 11 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Ceallach 11 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Tom Jones 11 years, 6 months ago

stupid b**** , shouldn't have been with a man like that.

Ceallach 11 years, 6 months ago

gnome, we done got our posts disappeareded! My apologies to LJW staff, I thought I was discrete in my wording....apparently not.

bunnyhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

great irony here................we've got a lot of people who think it's a wonderful idea to deny women access to abortion services under any circumstances......we've got federal policies that prohibit the use of any medicaid funds to pay for termination of pregnancies........we have absolutely NO public discourse about strategies for limiting reproduction among teenagers and adults who are highly unlikely to be able to parent their children. This woman's attorney noted her cognitive limitations........people with cognitive limitations are often completely unable to recognize a causal chain.........For example, there are bruises on the child, where did they come from??? That question might well have never occurred to this woman.........and I strongly suspect that something of this sort is behind her sentencing. Compassion is a nice word...........try looking it up!!! I believe Judge Martin should be commended for her compassion.

sublime 11 years, 6 months ago

I wonder if we all got together and kicked brandis ass if Paula Martin would let us off with a warning?!;)

Berserk 11 years, 6 months ago

Isn't this the same "judge" that gave basically no sentence to a couple of rapists?

Kathy Theis-Getto 10 years, 5 months ago

Any parent who allows their child to be abused in any manner by another, should be given the same punishment as the abuser. How could one not know what is happening to their child?

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