Darien Laird, October 19, 2010
Since April 2009 Hannah's day care provider, Patricia Ann Widerburg, has been accused of involuntary manslaughter of the child. Doctors determined it was Shaken Baby Syndrome in an autopsy after her death.
Widerburg pled guilty with an Alford plea, which means she does not admit to being guilty, but does admit that if the case was presented to a jury, there might be enough evidence to be found guilty.
Emotions ran high for both sides as Widerburg sat in front of the family and friends of Hannah, especially because this means some sort of closure for every party involved.
"I mean obviously we can't bring Hannah back,” said Angela Lloyd, Hannah’s aunt, “but it has made us draw closer as a family and we will always remember her. She will always be in our hearts."
Widerburg said the only reason she is finally submitting to this plea is to give her family and friends their life back, even if it means five months at the South Boise Women’s Correctional Facility and possibly another three to seven years in jail.
“She’s not guilty,” said Corbet Miskin, Widerburg’s neighbor and friend. “She's spent over two years now, well approaching two years now, being run through the ringer. She lost her business. She lost her ability to make money. She lives in a community where everyone looks at her with a question mark."
The Covington family said they are trying to come out of the situation with a desire to help. Hannah’s grandmother, Karla Covington, has plans to start a support group for mothers and women who need someone to call when they feel the desire to shake or harm a child.
"Just in Hannah's death alone, there were five or six of us that had Patricia come to me and said, 'Karla, I need help,' she was a good enough friend of mine that I would have stayed home that day, gone over and taken the grand kids, my daughter would have gone over to help," said Covington, "but there's shame in our society for saying I need help."
According to a study performed in four children centers around the country by Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, the increase of Shaken Baby Syndrome per month has risen to 9.3 percent per month since December 2007. Experts equate this to the economic crisis.