CROWN POINT, Indiana — The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the 35-year prison term for a Gary woman convicted of neglect for her role in the death of her stepson, who was starved, beaten and confined to a dog cage.
The (Munster) Times reports (http://bit.ly/HGTiKW ) that in a 3-0 decision Wednesday, the appeals panel rejected Kimberly Kubina's claims that Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Ross Boswell, in sentencing Kubina on Feb. 19 in connection with the death of 13-year-old Christian Choate, ignored the woman's mental illness and remorse and failed to account for her suffering as a victim of spousal abuse.
"The trial court noted several of these facts, as well as the nature of Christian's 'long, lingering, torturous death,'" wrote Appeals Judge L. Mark Bailey. "As to the question of remorse, while the trial court found that Kubina was remorseful, it afforded that determination no weight because of the nature and circumstances of the offense."
Court records indicate the now 48-year-old Kubina witnessed husband Riley Choate's attacks on Christian but never informed police or tried to obtain medical help for the boy. The boy's body was recovered from a shallow grave in a Gary mobile home park in May 2011, more than two years after his death.
After Christian's death, Kubina directed the boy's sister to wrap his body in garbage bags and pack it in a plastic tote. Kubina then assisted Riley Choate in burying the body underneath a shed, according to court records.
Two years later, Christian's sister told her mother about the circumstances of the boy's death and burial, which led to the arrest of Riley Choate and Kubina.
Boswell sentenced Riley Choate to 80 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to two counts of neglect and other charges.
Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com