Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mother of baby who died in a bathtub gets five years of probation

Katrina Brooks wipes her fingers clean after being fingerprinted in court after being sentenced after a jury found her guilty of neglect in leaving her 9-month-old son in the bathtub unsupervised. She was found not guilty of manslaughter.

SKIP O’ROURKE | Times

Katrina Brooks wipes her fingers clean after being fingerprinted in court after being sentenced after a jury found her guilty of neglect in leaving her 9-month-old son in the bathtub unsupervised. She was found not guilty of manslaughter.

TAMPA — A young mother convicted of neglect after her baby died in a bathtub will not go to prison.

Katrina Lynn Brooks, 23, must serve five years probation, live in a halfway house for at least six months, undergo routine drug tests and get counseling, said Hillsborough Circuit Judge William Fuente.

Prosecutors said she left her 9-month-old son in a bathtub with his 2-year-old sister on Aug. 3, 2007, and lost track of time as she talked with her aunt. Investigators said they talked about where to buy marijuana, but a jury didn't hear that part because a judge deemed it irrelevant.

After 15 to 40 minutes, Brooks returned to find the tub overflowing in her Seffner mobile home and the boy inside it, lifeless.

A jury found her not guilty of aggravated manslaughter in May 2008, but guilty of neglect, a lesser charge. She faced a maximum of five years in prison, but Fuente noted she had no prior felony convictions and was under 21 when charged. He withheld adjudication, which defense attorneys said would help her get a job.

Before the judge made his decision, Brooks' attorney said that after her conviction, Brooks took classes to be a better mother to her only living child. But Brooks' mother died, and the event threw her into a tailspin. She lost parental rights to her daughter, who is now in another family's care.

Brooks cried as she addressed the judge: "I never intended for anything to happen to my son. If I had some sort of support from my family, maybe my son would be home today, but he's not. And I have to live with that every day …

"My son is dead," she told him. "I lost my child, and I have lost my other one, and it is the worst pain anyone can feel."

No family members were at her sentencing, which was delayed by legal reversals.

After the 2008 verdict, Judge Fuente found that evidence against Brooks was insufficient to warrant a felony conviction. He granted a motion for acquittal.

But a year later, in September 2009, the 2nd District Court of Appeal found enough evidence for neglect and ruled that the judge erred in reversing the conviction.

On Friday, a prosecutor asked the judge to sentence Brooks to more than 19 months in prison because of the injuries caused by her neglect.

Brooks' defense attorney told the judge to think of her as a "child raising children," a jobless high school dropout with no more than an eighth grade education raising two kids alone and doing the best she could with what she had — a woman who cried so hard over her son that she hyperventilated and fainted.

A woman who was sorry.

After she learned Friday that she was spared prison, Brooks didn't smile. She showed no signs of celebration. She just left the courtroom in silence.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3354.

Mother of baby who died in a bathtub gets five years of probation 01/15/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 10:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  2. Funeral held for U.S. soldier at center of Trump fight

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  3. Chemical industry insider now shapes EPA policy

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.

    This is the Dow chemical plant near Freeport, Texas. Before the 2016 election, Dow had been in talks with the EPA to phase out the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is blamed for disabilities in children. Dow is no longer willing to compromise.
  4. Unforgiving wildfires affect vineyard workers and owners

    Nation

    SONOMA, Calif. — When the wildfires ignited, vineyard workers stopped picking grapes and fled for their lives. Some vineyard owners decided to stay and fight back, spending days digging firebreaks and sleeping among their vines.

    Wilma Illanes and daughter Gabriela Cervantes, 8, found their home intact, but had lost a week’s wages and sought aid.
  5. O'Reilly got new contract after big settlement

    Nation

    Last January, six months after Fox News ousted its chairman amid a sexual harassment scandal, the network's top-rated host at the time, Bill O'Reilly, struck a $32 million agreement with a longtime network analyst to settle new sexual harassment allegations, two people briefed on the matter told the New York …

    Bill O’Reilly was fired by Fox News after multiple allegations.