24 year old Kristi Lavanway of Plymouth entered a plea of guilty to Neglect of a Dependent resulting in Death in Marshall Superior Court I Thursday morning before Judge Robert Bowen. The case involves the death of her 2 year old daughter, Serenity Wilson.
Represented by local attorney Jeff Houin, Lavanway withdrew a plea agreement from October 27th and admitted to the offence as charged waiving her right to a trial.
The level 1 felony charge of Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Death has a sentence ranging from 20 to 40 years in prison with an advisory sentence of 30 years. Judge Bowen informed Lavanway of the new credit for “good time” in which the inmate must serve 75 percent of the sentence.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tami Napier read a factual bases into the record during the hearing. Napier said, if case had proceeded to trial, the state would have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, the mother of Serenity Wilson and the mother’s boyfriend Shane Weedling lived together at the Economy Inn on North Michigan Street. That while Lavanway was at work on September 18th Shane Weedling was babysitting Serenity Wilson and used “physical punishment” that eventually resulted in her death on September 19th in Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.
The court record shows that Lavanway left work early when Weedling threatened additional abuse to the child. She arrived at the Economy Inn about 11:45 and found her daughter unconscious but breathing and had a bloody face and nose. Eventually she asked a neighbor for a ride to the hospital and arrived there at 2:21 on September 18th.
Detective Leo Mangus from the Plymouth Police Department was called to the hospital and the doctor told him the child was in critical condition with bleeding on the brain. The doctor also noted numerous old bruises on Serenity’s body and heavy bruising on her buttocks, bruising in the shape of fingers on her ribs and bruising on the legs and arms.