A babysitter is sentenced to 23 years behind bars after she pleaded guilty to the murder of a 3-month-old girl in her care.
Sarah Gumm of Waukegan, Illinois, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder in the 2012 death of Rylan Aislee Koopmeiners.
As part of the plea deal, she must serve 100 percent of the prison sentence and register as a violent offender against youth once she is released from jail. If found guilty at trial, she would have been facing a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison. She will be given credit for the 1,299 days she spent in Lake County Jail since her 2012 arrest.
"Both Greg and I did everything we could to get ready for a very difficult trial," said attorney Jed Stone, who worked with attorney Greg Nikitas in Gumm's defense. "At the end of the day, Greg and I believed Sarah had no choice but to accept a plea deal."
"Sarah took this deal, not because she was guilty, but because she couldn't find a way to win if it went to trial," said James Gumm after his wife’s plea deal was accepted, as reported by The Daily Herald. "Sarah is not a murderer."
On July 27, 2012, Gumm reportedly slammed the baby’s head on a table. According to The Chicago Tribune, three-month-old Rylan had been in Gumm’s care for six weeks prior to her death.
According to Assistant State Attorney Eric Kalata, the child was not breathing when paramedics arrived to Gumm’s house and was pronounced dead at the hospital. Rylan died of blunt force trauma, which caused cranial hemorrhaging and a 4-inch by half-inch crack in her skull.
During the investigation, Gumm gave several versions of the manner in which the child died while in her care. Eventually, Gumm admitted to playing a role in Rylan’s death.
"We are grateful to God some form of earthly justice has been served for Rylan," the Koopmeiners family said in a statement. "The prosecution team has been such a blessing, guiding us through the logistics of this brutal storm of the past three and a half years. We thank them for their kindness and professionalism."