Mother Convicted of Strangling Girl After Tantrum
SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I.
A mother accused of strangling her 8-year-old daughter in 2009 after the girl refused to take a bath and threw a two-hour tantrum was convicted Thursday of second-degree murder.
Kimberly Fry faces up to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years. Jurors deliberated 5 1/2 hours over two days before reaching their decision.
Fry's lawyer called Camden's death "a tragic accident" and said the girl had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
But prosecutors said Fry followed Camden into her bedroom and strangled her, then tucked her lifeless body into bed with her favorite stuffed animal. Camden's father found the girl dead in her bed the next morning.
Camden's father, Timothy Fry, found the girl dead in her bed at the family's North Kingstown home on Aug. 11, 2009. Kimberly Fry, 38, was hospitalized later that day for overdosing on prescription medications she took the night before in a suicide attempt.
During the 14-day trial, Assistant Attorney General Stephen A. Regine said Fry blamed her depression on Camden and told her husband she wished the girl "wasn't around."
During closing arguments, Regine displayed a timer on a television screen and let it silently tick off five minutes - the amount of time he said it took Camden to die once Fry began strangling her.
Medical examiner Dr. William Cox testified for the prosecution that Camden died of cardio and respiratory failure as a result of asphyxia brought on by strangulation. He said she lost consciousness within 10 to 20 seconds and died four to six minutes later. Cox pegged her time of death at between 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Aug. 10, 2009.
Defense witness and former Rhode Island chief medical examiner Dr. Elizabeth Laposata demonstrated on a mannequin the same size as Camden how she believes the girl was straddled, her arm pinned down with a knee, her mouth covered with a hand and pressure applied to the sides of her neck and collarbone during a restraint.
Laposata said Camden died as a result of asphyxiation brought on by a combination of chest compressions, suffocation and pressure being applied to the sides of her neck. She testified that Camden lost consciousness within two or three minutes of the restraint beginning. Laposata said Camden died in five to 10 minutes.
Regine said Fry strangled Camden in bedroom after the girl refused to bathe and then tucked her lifeless body into bed with her favorite stuffed animal. When she spoke to her husband on the phone later that night, Timothy Fry testified she told him Camden was "quiet now" after a "two-hour crying fit." The same night Fry overdosed on prescription medication in a suicide attempt.
Public defender Sarah Wright said Fry did not know the restraint killed Camden and tucked her into bed with her favorite stuffed animal and turned on her night light.
She said the girl was thrashing, biting, kicking and hitting her mother as she tried to get her to bathe and get ready for bed while 41-year-old Timothy Fry was at hockey practice. To try to calm her down, Wright said, Kimberly Fry sat on Camden - as she had done successfully three months prior while the girl was having a tantrum while her husband was on a business trip.
Wright portrayed Fry as a loving mother who sought medical treatment, academic help and family counseling for Camden, who struggled in school, threw tantrums that lasted an hour or longer and was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder two months before she died. Fry herself struggled with insomnia, took medication for depression and was suicidal in the two weeks before Camden died, Wright said.
Hospital staff testified that Fry made incriminating statements about Camden's death during her stay. Authorities also say Fry left behind a note in which she wrote she felt "beaten down by an 8-year-old."
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