Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dad gets 18 years for killing 8-month-old daughter (Pierce County, Washington)

Yet another daddy who got "frustrated" because his video game was interrupted by a crying baby....and now he has finally pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree murder.

Dad is identified as IVRYEE FLOWERS.

Father gets 18 years for shaking his baby girl to death

Published: February 27, 2013 Updated 1 hour ago

The Bellingham Herald
By Adam Lynn — Staff writer

Ivryee Flowers shook his baby daughter so hard on Dec. 7, 2011, she suffered a fatal skull fracture.

Still, in Pierce County Superior Court on Wednesday, he said he never meant to kill her.

“This was an accident,” the 21-year-old man told Judge James Orlando. “I truly loved and still love my daughter.”

Orlando wasn’t buying.

The judge ignored a recommendation worked out between deputy prosecutor Lori Kooiman and defense attorney Mark Quigley for a 15-year sentence and instead ordered Flowers imprisoned for 18 years.

“There’s no degree of remorse that I’ve sensed from you that convinces me that you realize the enormity of what you’ve done,” Orlando told Flowers. “I think this child needs something more than 15 years in prison.”

Minutes before, Flowers pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Leileah Flowers’ death.

Tacoma police detectives said he was upset because the 8-month-old girl was fussy and interrupting his video-game playing. According to court records, he shook her violently after his attempts to calm her were unsuccessful.

Realizing he’d hurt the girl, he called 911, records show, but Leileah later died at a hospital.

Wednesday’s proceedings were tense, with supporters of both Flowers and Leileah filing into court.

At one point, Flowers’ mother was forcibly removed from the courtroom after she got upset when a sheriff’s deputy told her to sit down.

Clearly agitated, she’d gotten out of her seat and moved to another location while Leileah’s maternal grandmother, Jeannie Williamson, was making a victim statement to the court.

“I want to be able to see my son,” she told the deputy.

She sat down when commanded to do so but cursed at the deputy, who then demanded she leave. The woman pulled out of the deputy’s grasp when he grabbed her arm to escort her from the room, and several of her friends and relatives also got upset and left their seats.

Court was interrupted for about 10 minutes as deputies restored order. Flowers’ mother later was booked into jail for investigation of obstructing a law enforcement officer and disorderly conduct.

Steve Harrington, Leileah’s great uncle, addressed the court once things settled down. Harrington said relatives on Leileah’s mother’s side of the family had only one question.

“Why?” Harrington asked Flowers. “You had all the support in the world to help you. The memories of this tragedy will last a lifetime.”

Flowers then got his chance to address the court.

He apologized to his own family and that of his daughter’s mother.

“I am very sorry for the loss,” Flowers said.

Still, he said, he would leave court “with my head held high” because he did not intend to kill Leileah.

“When I come home, I’ll do everything I can to make her proud of me,” Flowers said.

Orlando appeared flabbergasted at Flowers’ comments.

Fathers are supposed to protect their children, not hurt them, the judge said.

“I don’t understand, Mr. Flowers,” Orlando said before imposing the 18-year sentence.

Outside court, Williamson said the loss of her granddaughter still hurts.

“I talk to her like she’s still in the house today,” she said. “This didn’t have to happen. I was only a phone call away.”