November 08, 2019
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Woman convicted of killing 4-year-old Kendall Chick appealing her 50-year sentence

Shawn Patrick Ouellette | Portland Press Herald via AP
Shawn Patrick Ouellette | Portland Press Herald via AP
Shawna Gatto sits with attorney Jeremy Pratt at the Capitol Judicial Center in Augusta, April 30, 2019.

The Wiscasset woman convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison for the murder of a 4-year-old girl in her care has appealed the verdict and sentence to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Shawna L. Gatto, 44, is in custody at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, according to court documents.

“We’ve filed notice of appeal,” Jeremy Pratt, one of Gatto’s attorneys, said in an email. “It’s been docketed with the Law Court. We are waiting for transcripts and for a briefing schedule from the Law Court.”

[More than 20 Maine children have died since 2017 amid concerns about their safety]

Superior Court Justice William R. Stokes handed down the guilty verdict at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta on April 30 after a five-day trial earlier in April. He sentenced Gatto at the Lincoln County Courthouse in Wiscasset on June 25.

Gatto was convicted of depraved indifference murder. State law says a person commits depraved indifference murder if he or she “Engages in conduct that manifests a depraved indifference to the value of human life and that in fact causes the death of another human being.”

The crime carries the same maximum sentence as intentional and knowing murder, 25 years to life.

Pratt and fellow defense attorney Philip Cohen argued for a 30-year sentence. Assistant Attorneys General John Alsop and Donald Macomber, who prosecuted the case, argued for 65 years to life.

[As new leaders take over Maine’s child welfare system, caseworkers say they’re still ‘drowning’]

Gatto was convicted of the murder of her fiance’s 4-year-old granddaughter, Kendall Chick. She had been the girl’s primary caregiver since the Maine Department of Health and Human Services placed her in the home.

Chick died Dec. 8, 2017, of a blunt-force injury to the abdomen that lacerated her pancreas and caused other internal injuries, according to police reports and testimony at trial. She also sustained blunt-force trauma to the head and numerous other injuries, and showed signs of chronic abuse.

According to Maine Chief Medical Examiner Mark Flomenbaum, 15 to 20 distinct injuries were found on Chick’s face, head and neck.

This story appears through a media partnership with The Lincoln County News.

 



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