Wisconsin woman sentenced to 10 years in prison for baby's death in 1957

Reuters News
Posted: May 01, 2013 8:34 PM

By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - A 76-year-old Wisconsin woman was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in prison for killing her infant daughter more than half a century ago, after the girl's brother persuaded police to reopen the case.

Ruby Klokow, who pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in February, was sentenced in Sheboygan County Circuit Court for the 1957 death of her daughter Jeaneen, who died at the age of seven months after being thrown onto a couch and falling onto the floor.

Sheboygan County Judge Angela Sutkiewicz handed down a much stiffer sentence than the one prosecutors recommended. Prosecutors reached a plea deal in February with Klokow and her attorney, recommending 45 days in jail with 10 years probation.

Klokow told police in 1957 that Jeaneen had fallen off a sofa after she placed her there, according the criminal complaint.

Klokow's son James, who was about 2 years old at the time of his sister's death, went to police in 2008 and told them that he and his brother Bruce were "subjected to repeated and extreme physical and mental abuse by their mother," according to the criminal complaint.

After the case was reopened, Klokow admitted that she had been frustrated and angry at the time. Both James and Jeaneen were crying and she had picked the girl up and threw her toward the sofa, but she bounced off and struck the floor, the complaint said.

James told investigators that Ruby blamed him for his sister's death, according to the complaint.

A pathologist also determined that Jeaneen's injuries could not have been caused merely by falling off a couch, according to the complaint.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Lisa Shumaker)