Jury finds Huling guilty of child neglect

Jury finds Huling guilty of child neglect

LAWTON, Okla._Christine Huling has been found guilty of child neglect and the jury recommended a sentence of five years in prison.

The jury deliberated for 25 minutes after they heard closing arguments from both the prosecution and defense. The prosecution once again displayed graphic images of the home where the baby was found dead, and the defense maintained the condition of the home does not constitute neglect and that the cause of the child's death had been ruled undetermined by the medical examiner.

The jury began deliberating at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, and came back with a verdict at 10:55 a.m. When Christina Huling heard the jury's verdict of guilty, she immediately began to sob.

The look on the defense attorney's face and Huling's was utter shock as the verdict was read aloud by the judge. Guilty, with a recommendation of five years in prison. Huling placed her face in her hands and began to sob.

Before the jury was handed the case to deliberate, both the prosecution and defense pleaded their case one last time. Defense attorney Taylor Stein began by describing how Huling cared for Alizabeth, Huling's 4-month-old daughter, the week before she passed away. He noted trips to the doctor as well as Huling ensuring medicine was provided. Stein reminded the jurors of the suffering felt when a parent loses a child and asked jurors, "Do you really want to punish her more."

The prosecution urged the jurors to carefully remember each witness's testimony, and defined what constitutes neglect for the jury. Images of the homes condition were shown once again. The prosecution urged to jury to decide if the environment the baby lived in and the actions of Huling, drinking and smoking marijuana the night before the baby was found dead, defined neglect.

Following the jury's decision, Assistant District Attorney Mark Stoneman said he is thankful for everyone's hard work and that he is happy with the verdict.

"We trust their verdict, and we trust the sentence they recommended. We do think that's justice," Stoneman said.

Huling's attorney did not want to give a comment on the case, but Stein did say he plans to appeal.

Because Huling has a previous felony conviction, she will be required to serve 85 percent of her sentence.

Huling will appear before the judge to be formally sentenced on November 16. The baby's father, Jacob Brenke, is also facing a child neglect charge. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for November.