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KLAPHEKE TRIAL: Jury sentences convicted mother to 30 years in prison

By Ariana Garza, Weekend Anchor/Crime & Courts Reporter, agarza@ktxs.com
Doug Myers, Digital Media Manager, dmyers@ktxs.com
Published On: Feb 13 2014 12:29:34 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 14 2014 02:52:45 PM CST
Klapheke walking through the courthouse

ABILENE, Texas -

A day after finding her guilty of injury to a child by omission, a six-man, six-woman Taylor County jury sentenced Tiffany Klapheke to 30 years in prison. She will be eligible for parole after serving 15 years.

The jury deliberated seven seven hours before returning with the sentence.

Klapheke, 23, was accused of failing to provide adequate food, water and medical attention to her and ex-husband Thomas's 22-month-old daughter Tamryn before the toddler died on Aug. 28, 2012.

Tamryn’s two young siblings were also found in deteriorating conditions but ultimately survived.

During the punishment phase’s closing arguments, prosecutor Joel Wilks didn’t hold back.

“I don't even want to call her a mother,” Wilks said.

After the defense talked about neglect Klapheke suffered growing up, Wilks said, “I don't want anyone to ever forget Tamryn is the victim in this case."

Meanwhile, Klapheke defense attorney John Young said state Child Protective Services, Dyess Family Advocacy Center and Klapheke’s former husband Thomas are also to be blamed for their parts in Tamryn’s death.

"I ask you to look at the entirety of the picture," Young said.

The trial ended after 14 days. The jury began deliberations shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday.

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Convicted mother Tiffany Klapheke’s oldest child always drinks all of her juice immediately – “almost as if she’s afraid she won’t get anything else for a while.”

That’s according to Kathy Boorman, the state’s only witness in the punishment phase of the Klapheke trial.

Boorman garnered managing conservatorship over Klapheke’s two surving children after Klapheke’s 22-month-old daughter was found dead in late August 2012.

Klapheke, 23, was found guilty Wednesday of injury to a child by omission.

Both sides have rested in the Klapheke trial’s punishment phase. District Judge Lee Hamilton is currently preparing jury instructions, and the jury is expected to return at 1:30 p.m. for Hamilton’s instructions and then closing arguments.

What this means is the jury's punishment deliberations won’t begin – at the earliest – until later this afternoon.  

Now facing up to life in prison, Klapheke was accused of failing to provide adequate food, water and medical attention to her and ex-husband Thomas's 22-month-old daughter Tamryn before the toddler died on Aug. 28, 2012.

Tamryn’s two young siblings were also found in deteriorating conditions but ultimately survived.

Boorman, Tamryn's paternal grandmother who lives in Tennessee under the same roof as Klapheke’s former husband Thomas, said Klapheke’s surviving daughters are "doing remarkably well" but that the oldest child has meltdowns periodically.

Jurors also learned during punishment phase closing arguments that Klapheke got tubal ligation (commonly known as getting one's "tubes tied"), which her adoptive mom paid for, and her GED while incarcerated and since she was initially arrested in late August 2012.

Meanwhile, Klapheke is eligible for probation if the jury chooses a sentence under 10 years because she's had no prior felony convictions.