A Tennessee couple face up to 60 years in prison or the possibility of the death penalty for the murder of a 5 year-old girl after they forced her to drink a large amount of soda and water leading to her death by “acute fluid/water intoxication.”
According to WJHL, Randall Lee Vaughn, 41 and his wife Mary Lavonne Vaughn, 58, made Randall Lee’s daughter, Alexa Linboom, 5, drink more than two liters of grape soda and water over a period of two hours as punishment for taking two of her stepmothers grape sodas on New Years Day, 2012.
Following the incident, Alexa Linbloom was found unresponsive and rushed to an emergency room, then later airlifted to Niswonger Children’s Hospital where it was determined that she had suffered major brain damage. Two days later, she was declared brain dead and removed from life support.
An autopsy led to a two-year investigation which determined that Alexa’s death was a homicide as the result of acute fluid/water intoxication causing her brain to swell and herniate.
“She was allegedly force-fed so much liquid that it caused the sodium level in her body to go down and caused her brain to swell,” District Attorney Berkley Bell told WJHL. Bell also indicated that there were other signs of abuse but did not go into specifics.
Appearing in court on Friday, Randall Lee Vaughn and Mary Lavonne Vaughn, have each been charged with first degree murder, two counts of aggravated child neglect and aggravated child abuse. They face up to 60 years in prison with the possibility of the death penalty for first degree murder.
They are both scheduled to be back in court on April 30 for a pretrial hearing, with their trial was set for Oct. 20.
Tom Boggioni is based in the quaint seaside community of Pacific Beach in less quaint San Diego. He writes about politics, media, culture, and other annoyances. Mostly he spends his days at the beach gazing at the horizon waiting for the end of the world, or the sun to go down. Whichever comes first.
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