UTAH: Guardian of Abused Woman Kept in Closet Sent to Prison for Her Death

Those who loved Christina “Nina” Harms drove 1,500 miles from their homes in Minnesota and South Dakota to stand in front of a judge Friday and tell them about the person they lost.

They wore T-shirts printed with Harms’ smiling face. They carried a cardboard display covered in pictures of the woman throughout her life.

“Nina wanted to go to college, she wanted more kids, she was very loving,” Marilee Nelson said. “She loved her daughter more than anything. Nina was the most loving person you would ever meet.”

Harms was 22 when she died on March 25, 2011, as the result of abuse and neglect in the Kearns home she shared with the woman who was her guardian, Cassandra Marie Shepard, their children and Shepard’s mother and stepfather.

“I don’t think there will ever be understanding, but today there will be justice,” 3rd District Judge Katie Bernards-Goodman said before sentencing Shepard, 29, to prison. Shepard, who pleaded guilty to aggravated abuse of a disabled adult, a first-degree felony, and manslaughter, a second-degree felony, was sentenced to consecutive terms of five years to life and one to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Harms, who suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome and had the mental capacity of an 8- to 12-year-old, was constantly kept in a small closet where she was forced to eat and go to the bathroom while being bound to a metal bar.

Harms had ligature marks on her ankles consistent with plastic zip ties when officials examined her, severe bruising on her thigh and head, bloodshot eyes, a pepper seed in one of her eyelids, and her hands were completely covered with bandaging material, which would have prevented her from getting the pepper seed out.

Full Article and Source:
Guardian of Abused Woman Kept in Closet Sent to Prison for Her Death

See Also:
Guardian Accused of Causing Death of Disabled Woman

14 Responses to “UTAH: Guardian of Abused Woman Kept in Closet Sent to Prison for Her Death”

  1. Thelma Says:

    Sick bastards! What about the others? No jail time?

  2. Cecilia Says:

    Sick is right — and where was the judge? Was he/she monitoring this case at all?

  3. StandUp Says:

    I am just stunned. The whole family should be charged and should be serving time. "Aggravatd abuse"? What's that?She was tortured to death.

  4. Sue Says:

    HOMICIDE 1st degree intentional torture and murder deserved the death penalty for Cassandra Marie Shepard while the murderer lives in the same conditions as the victim Nina was forced to endure – no death penalty? LIFE IN PRISON WITH NO PAROLE. Now what about the others in the household who knew and what did they do about it? And where was the court on this? Anyone go looking in on Nina?

  5. Finny Says:

    Yes, the whole bunch of them should be locked up forever.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    my heart breaks for what this young woman suffered.

  7. Jason Says:

    Look at her smile. How could anyone be so cruel to do what was done to her?

  8. Rudy Bush Says:

    Whatever you do, do not criticize the probate judges or the Human Services. They don't like it.

  9. kathy Says:

    They need to all be in prison (forever) Where was the judge?

  10. Norma Says:

    The point made here today is correct. Where was the judge? Who was monitoring this case? Anybody?Apparently not.

  11. Dianna Says:

    Put the rest of the family in jail and throw away the key. It's not only justice but it protects our society to keep these people away from the vulnerable.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    The sentence is too mild. Those of us who have loved ones under guardianships were all assured during the trial that there would be plenty of court oversight, but there is virtually none. Oversight consists of a family member filing a petition, then the family members are accused of running up the bills with litigation and held responsible. There is never any justice for the conserved individuals, and I'm not sure there ever will be.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Where was the judge? Where was the GAL?This is so sad….

  14. Anonymous Says:

    The families are told that their loved ones will be protected. These are just empty promises.A tragic loss of this young girls' life and the suffering that she endured. It is a disgrace to our society that it was only for financial gain. Justice may have been served but not to the full extent to compensate for the human life that was wrongly taken.IF the Bible was LAW then Justice would prevail just from looking at one simple verse:Matthew 7:12New King James Version (NKJV)12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.There would be no slapping on the hand for this guardian and getting out early for best behavior. She should have got equal treatment or life without parole.If our laws were more strict there would be less abuse but only if the punishment fit the crime.I am sure the family needs our prayers during this difficult time.

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