Monday, October 10, 2011

Guardian Accused of Causing Death of Disabled Woman

Cassandra Shepard told police she had moved from South Dakota to get Nina away from a life of abuse.

Prosecutors say it followed the woman here.

As paramedics worked to save Christina “Nina” Harms’ life on the afternoon of March 25, Shepard told police that Harms had been acting out again, that in a tantrum she had held her breath until she passed out.

But as investigators looked at the scene — the bandages on Harms’ hands and arms, the ligature marks on her legs — they began to look at Shepard as a suspect.

“We came to the conclusion that things just weren’t adding up,” Paul Nielsen, a former Unified Police detective, said Friday during a preliminary hearing in 3rd District Court.

After hearing from police and medical experts, Judge Randall Skanchy took the case under advisement. He will rule at a later date whether Shepard, 20,should stand trial for the murder of the woman for whom she had promised to care.

Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Edward Leis, who performed the autopsy on the 22-year-old Harms, testified the woman was severely dehydrated and had toxic levels of a sedative, possibly Benadryl, in her system when she died.

Harms had a series of bruises on her body. Her hands were wrapped tightly in bandages to cover a series of wounds. And she had a pepper seed in her right, lower eyelid, Nielsen said.

“I didn’t do those,” an emotional Shepard told her attorneys after prosecutors showed a picture of the wounds on Harms’ arms. “I didn’t do those.”

Shepard was awarded legal guardianship of Harms after Harms’ mother, a relative of Shepard’s, died in 2008.

Police say Shepard and two other adults in the home locked Harms in a closet, at times binding her crucifixion-style to a pole there. Investigators have said that closet had an alarm system and a knife stuck in the door to prevent Harms from getting out. Inside the closet was a piece of cardboard with remnants of feces and urine and some air fresheners.

Full Article and Source:
Guardian Accused of Causing Death of Disabled Woman

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, hell - a sleeping juror could decide that case in a minute, if the judge didn't twist the facts of the law!

StandUp said...

A poignent reminder that guardianship abuse can involve loss of life.

Anonymous said...

These losers need to start spending the rest of their lives in jail.

John said...

If she did this, she tortured a disabled person. Torturing anybody is unforgivable but there is no punishment that can apply to a evil person who torturs a disabled person. No punishment can fit such a hideous crime.

Sue said...

.... Judge Randall Skanchy took the case under advisement. He will rule at a later date whether Shepard, 20,should stand trial for the murder of the woman for whom she had promised to care.....

Judge Skanchy please allow Nina a chance to have a voice in your courtroom.

There is no excuse for the inhumane treatment, none.

What is the motive? We the people demand justice, we want to know all the facts and we demand harsh punishment.

Let this be a warning to others who engage in inflicting punishment and pain upon those who cannot defend themselves.