Marshall County Prosecuting Attorney Nelson Chipman opened a press conference Wednesday morning with a quote he has taped to a bookcase in his office. That quote is, “To the living we owe respect. To the dead we owe the truth.” Chipman called the conference to update the media on the cases against 23 year old Shane Eric Weedling and 24 year old Krysti Irene Lavanway.
The prosecutor began his statement on the case saying, “20 days short of her third birthday, Serenity Marie Lynn Wilson died at Luther Hospital in Fort Wayne at 5:34 p.m. on Saturday, September 19, 2015.” The child had been under intensive medical care for just over 27 hours after her mother, Krysti Lavanway had taken her to the Plymouth Hospital at 2:31 on Friday afternoon.
An autopsy on Monday gave a preliminary cause of death as multiple instances of blunt force trauma to the head. Extensive additional injuries were observed but the cause of her death was due to injuries to her brain.
Kristy Lavanway was arrested on Monday with a preliminary charge of Neglect of a Dependent under the age of 14 by someone over the age of 18 resulting in the death of a dependent. That charge has now been formalized with a specific allegation that Krysti Lavanway failed to obtain medical attention for her dependent in a timely manner. That resulted in her death and the charge of a level 1 felony.
Mr. Weedling’s charges have been formally amended to be Aggravated Battery as a level 1 felony, Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Death as a level 1 felony and the enhanced charge of Marijuana as a level 6 felony.
Both suspects are scheduled to appear in Marshall Superior Court I on Tuesday, September 29th at 9 a.m. Their cash bonds have been set at $100,000 each.
Chipman said, “A level 1 felony is punishable by and advisory sentence of 30 years imprisonment with 10 subtracted for mitigating circumstances or 10 added for aggravated circumstances. Thus the range of possible imprisonment is from 20 to 40 years. With the change in sentencing laws, a person sentenced to a specific number of years would have to serve 75% of that time instead of what use to be 50%. They can also be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000.”
Chipman said, “Ethically the rules require me to repeat that these are mere allegations and the Ms. Lavanway and Mr. Weedling are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.”