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KLAPHEKE TRIAL: Prosecution objects to phone call between Klapheke, adoptive mother

By Ariana Garza, Weekend Anchor/Crime & Courts Reporter, agarza@ktxs.com
Doug Myers, Digital Media Manager, dmyers@ktxs.com
Published On: Feb 03 2014 11:53:10 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 03 2014 08:35:54 PM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Prosecutors say they would object to testimony from accused mom Tiffany Klapheke’s adoptive mother because of a recorded jail phone call between the two last Thursday.

According to prosecutors, the phone call – in which Klapheke and Tina Romano talked about unfair news coverage and Klapheke’s potential punishment – violated a judge’s rule prohibiting contact with potential witnesses.

The Taylor County trial of the 23-year-old Klapheke entered its second week Monday. She is facing injury to a child charges in connection with toddler daughter Tamryn’s August 2012 death. Authorities have said her 22-month-old child died from malnutrition and dehydration.

District Judge Lee Hamilton invoked a rule prohibiting both potential and actual trial witnesses from talking about the case.

Romano is a potential witness for the defense.

Prosecutors would like the recorded conversation played during the trial to show Romano broke the judge's rule and shouldn't be allowed to testify for the defense.

While Klapheke’s defense attorneys say the phone conversation should be played in private, prosecutors say they would like it to be played in public.

It could be admitted into court - either publicly or privately - as early as Tuesday.

Prosecutors said Romano, who lives in Kentucky, spoke with Klapheke about unfair news coverage and what she believed Klapheke’s punishment should be down to a specific sentence.

Meanwhile, a cart of evidence was rolled into court Monday, including  a small trashcan of dirty diapers, a stained playpen mattress and stained piece of carpet – all from the Klapheke home.

Prosecutors have said Klapheke – before Tamryn’s death – locked the toddler in a room for four days when she found the child dead and called 911.

Previous story:

Accused mom Tiffany Klapheke had requested tubal ligation – commonly known as having her “tubes tied” – after daughter Tamryn’s birth, her defense attorneys said Monday.

The Taylor County trial of the 23-year-old Klapheke entered its second week Monday. She is facing injury to a child charges in connection with Tamryn’s August 2012 death. Authorities have said her 22-month-old daughter died from malnutrition and dehydration.

Klapheke’s defense made the tubal ligation revelation after Dyess Air Force Base pediatrician Dr. Christine Hodge testified that nothing was medically wrong with Tamryn to explain her developmental delays.

Hodge said Tamryn’s developmental delays included failure to gain weight and her head circumference dropping off, among other things.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Klapheke didn’t have her tubes tied after filing a request to do so. She later had her third child.

Klapheke's two other young daughters also suffered from malnutrition and dehydration when found, but they survived.

Meanwhile, during cross examination, her defense pointed out Klapheke had her own concerns about Tamryn’s health.

Hodge, the pediatrician, said she contacted the Dyess Family Advocacy Center more than once about the Klapheke household and that the Family Advocacy Center would then contact the state Child Protective Services.

CPS's handling of the case has come under fire since Tamryn's death.

Four former Child Protective Service workers – and one current employee – are on the witness list for the trial.

All had some involvement in the Klapheke investigation that CPS undertook before the child died.

Only one is still working for CPS.  The others either resigned or were fired by the agency because of their involvement in the Klapheke investigation.