Alexis Behlke was a little girl who loved shoes, swings and baby dolls. She liked pizza, cheese, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and animal crackers. Like any toddler, she was capable of pitching a fit.
Last Thursday, Cathy Borgelt remembered the fit her granddaughter threw when she couldn’t have ice cream one day in 2013, just before getting dropped off for a month long stay with her father.
Alexis Behlke never got her ice cream and never came home. She died from a lethal dose of prescription painkillers given by the woman who was watching her while her father was at work.
Calling the crime “unimaginable,” a Trempealeau County judge last Thursday sentenced 24 year old Amanda Butts, of Osseo, to 30 years in prison for the death.
Butts initially denied giving Alexis anything but children’s Tylenol after bringing her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead in the early hours of June 22 47 days before her second birthday, according to court records.
Butts, who lived in Jackson County at the time of her arrest, told police the girl had been whiny and wouldn’t sleep. wholesale nfl jerseys from china Butts said cuts and bruises on the girl’s face were caused when she tried to remove a peanut butter sandwich from her mouth. Later she admitted to investigators that she had given Alexis one of her Oxycodone pills, though she denied giving her the Benedryl found in Alexis’ system.
“Ms. Butts had an opportunity to come back from the abyss,” said District Attorney Taavi McMahon. “She failed to do it. She failed to tell anybody she had given Alexis Oxycontin.”
An autopsy also revealed fractures in Alexis’ wrist and blood in her ear canals, according to a criminal complaint. Other children in the home told police Butts threw Alexis on the floor and stuffed food into her mouth.
Butts eventually pleaded guilty to first degree reckless homicide and no contest to physical abuse of a child. Her attorney told the court she was severely depressed, under the influence of opiates and never should have been left in charge of five children.
“She was not thinking straight at the time Nobody would give a child Oxycontin if they were thinking straight,” George Miller said. “She was overwhelmed.”
Butts, who sobbed at points during statements from Alexis’ family, read a letter in which she apologized to the court and the family.
“I know the loss of Alexis has hurt you all,” she said. “I ask that you all find it in your hearts to forgive me as I am trying to forgive myself.”
Wearing pink T shirts emblazoned with “Lil Lexi’s Crew” and a picture of the girl, her family filled the small courtroom and cataloged their losses.
Laura Jenkins told of the pain at seeing toys or dresses her daughter would have liked and instead buying trinkets to leave on her grave and celebrating her birthday by releasing balloons into the sky.
“Instead of planning her second birthday together, we had to celebrate her birthday in heaven,” Jenkins said.
She listed the rites of passage first day of school, prom, graduation, marriage she would miss.
Cathy Borgelt described her granddaughter as a sweet, intelligent girl who was proud of her shoes, loved swinging and was always ready to eat.
“I had the privilege to baptize little Lexi,” said her grandfather, the Rev. Larry Borgelt. “But I won’t be able to see her confirm that faith.”
Alexis’ death didn’t just affect “soft hearted people,” said her uncle, Travis Kernan, who said despite his own anger issues, “Alexis was that one person who had that spot in my heart.”
Circuit Judge John Damon sentenced Butts to 30 years in prison and another 10 on supervision on the homicide charge, to be served concurrently with a five year prison term for child abuse.