Mother's conviction upheld in baby's death

10:40 AM, Nov 4, 2013   |    comments
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GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- The Supreme Court of Georgia has unanimously upheld convictions for a woman found guilty of beating her young daughter to death in 2011.

In November 2012, a Hall County jury found Deanna Renee Kipp guilty of several charges, including felony murder and involuntary manslaughter, in the death of 18-month-old Kaylee Kipp. Deanna Kipp was also convicted of abusing her 7- and 4-year-old daughters. She received four concurrent life sentences plus 35 years in prison.

Kipp's live-in boyfriend, Stephen Clark West, was convicted in August 2012 of malice murder in Kaylee Kipp's death and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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Kaylee Kipp's body was found inside a crib in her mother's Gainesville apartment on June 12, 2011. The Hall County Medical Examiner determined she'd been beaten all over her head and body, and was asphyxiated when someone pressed her face down hard into the pad of her crib.

Investigators found injuries, including bruises and cigarette burns, on Kipp's other two children. The older girl told her foster mother that West spanked her, and that she was the one who found Kaylee Kipp dead after her mother made her go check on the baby.

Deanna Kipp appealed her conviction, saying the jury's verdicts of both felony murder and involuntary manslaughter were mutually exclusive.

In Monday's opinion, a Georgia Supreme Court justice dismissed Kipp's claim, saying "the verdicts at issue are supposed by evidence of separate acts, committed at separate moments during the night Kaylee was killed, and thus, are not mutually exclusive."

However, Georgia's high court also determined the original jury erred in sentencing Kipp on four counts of felony murder because "the prohibition against double jeopardy does not permit a defendant to be punished on multiple murder counts for a single homicide." Therefore, Kipp must be re-sentenced on those counts.

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