The doctor of a 14-year-old, 28-pound girl with cerebral palsy who died of starvation was sentenced Tuesday to 4½ months in jail.
Montgomery County Juvenile Court Judge Nick Kuntz ordered Dr. Margaret Edwards, 51, to report to jail Sept. 9 for a six-month jail sentence with 45 days suspended after he found Edwards guilty of three misdemeanors stemming from her role in the death of Makayla Norman, who one prosecutor said was “left to rot.”
Edwards had pleaded no contest to three first-degree misdemeanor counts of failure to report child abuse or neglect of a functionally impaired person. Kuntz also ordered Edwards to pay court costs, surrender her passport and required her to do one year of probation after she completes her sentence. Kuntz could have sentenced Edwards to up to 18 months behind bars. Earlier, Edwards agreed to permanently surrender her medical license.
“We’re pleased that this defendant was held accountable and she received jail time as part of that sentence,” said Montgomery County assistant prosecutor Tracey Ballard Tangeman. “She was, what I would describe, similar to what you would see if you were viewing a movie about World War II and seeing concentration camp victims.”
Norman could not speak, move, or feed herself when she died March 1, 2011. When Norman died, her body was covered with filth and open bedsores, her hair and eyebrows were infested with lice, and her diaper and colon filled with feces, according to Dayton police.
Prosecutors have said Edwards was required to provide care and treatment for Norman and to inspect the living conditions of her home. Edwards’ last documented visit to Norman’s home was Oct. 29, 2010.
“There was a breakdown in the system and I’m very sorry for my role in that,” Edwards said as she started to cry. “I must also apologize to Makayla’s family for this tragic outcome because it did not have to happen.”
Edwards’ attorney, Todd Long, asked Kuntz to give Edwards probation. “The court feels required to impose a sentence,” Kuntz said.
Edwards, of Trotwood, is the last of five people to be criminally prosecuted in the 14-year-old’s death. Norman’s mother, Angela, and her nurse Mollie Parsons are already serving prison terms, Norman for nine years and Parsons for 10 years. Two other nurses, Kathryn Williams and Mary Kilby, who were to supervise Norman’s care have been convicted of felonies but received five years’ community control. There are two pending appeals involving Kilby and Williams. Federal charges are possible.
“The state is very pleased that all of these people who failed Makayla Norman have been held accountable in one way or another,” prosecutor Erin Claypoole said, saying that legislation has gone forward to clear up what doctors are required to do in such situations.
Norman’s family members declined to make a victim impact statement. A civil case involving Norman’s estate has been scheduled for trial in April 2014.