Stephanie Holt 0

Alissa- Braxton Law

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Braxton Taylor was 10 months old when he was shaken to death by his foster mother. He had just been removed from another foster home in which he was thriving and cherished. His foster mother pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and received only 10 years in prison. Braxton's mother had noticed bruises on her son at visit prior to his death. She reported this to the social worker and it went unchecked. 

People who become foster parents and or adopt children out of the foster care system should be held to a higher standard. This law would double the fines/prison terms that are handed down to parents who abuse or kill the children they are entrusted with through foster care and or adoption from the foster care system. If you choose to become a foster parent or adopt a child from the foster care system you are educated on how to care for these children. They are given children who have been removed from their parents for their own protection. To then abuse or worse kill these children in their care should be considered a greater crime then one committed by a birth parent.
Sentences should be severe due to the fact they have promised to care for these kids according to the state laws for children in foster care. 
John Saros of Summit County Childrens Services says it best. "There is nothing more egregious than for a person who has come forward saying, ‘You can trust me,’ to turn around and kill a defenseless child who has been removed from their home because of abuse, neglect or another troubling circumstance," Saros said. "I view it as an aggravating circumstance that shouldn’t be treated any differently than someone who murders a police officer or firefighter." 
Alissa's story
During the last quarter of 2008, Alissa was removed from her mother’s home and made a ward of the state in Steuben County, Indiana. Alissa was placed in the home of Matt and Christy Shaffer, who were not trained foster parents, but relatives of the family.

March 28, 2009 Alissa B Guernsy passed away. The autopsy report declared her death a homicide, due to blunt force trauma to the head. According to the post mortem exam, her hair had not fallen out - it was ripped out! Alissa endured months of beatings and hardships before the death blows were finally given to her. 

 In June 2009, the Grand Jury indicted Shaffer for Neglect of a Dependent, Class B Felony AND Neglect of a Dependent, Class C Felony. 

Shaffer accepted a Plea Agreement by pleading guilty to Neglect of a Dependent, Class B Felony in February 2011.

In late May 2011, Shaffer was sentenced to 10 years in the Department of Corrections, with 6 years suspended. With Indiana’s Good Time Credit Policy, Shaffer might have served only two years.

LaGrange Circuit Court Judge J. Scott VanDerbeck modified Shaffer’s sentence in August 2011. Shaffer was released after serving 77 days.

(written by her Aunt)


Stephanie Holt


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