APPEAL FROM MADISON CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE JEAN CHENAULT
LOGUE, JUDGE NO. 14-CR-00523-002.
COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: Karen Shuff Maurer Assistant Public
Advocate Department of Public Advocacy
COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: Andy Be shear Attorney General of
Kentucky Jeffrey Allan Cross Assistant Attorney General
Richmond appeals as a matter of right from her conviction by
jury and a 70-year sentence arising from charges of one count
of first-degree assault, 11 counts of first-degree criminal
abuse, and one count of second-degree assault stemming from
the abuse of her boyfriend's minor child, N.V. For the
following reasons, we affirm.
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND.
2014, Richmond was arrested with her boyfriend, Julio
Valladares, after Richmond took Julio's daughter, N.V. to
the emergency room where N.V. presented with bruises,
pressure sores, dehydration, malnutrition, and an abnormally
low temperature. After seventeen days in the hospital, N.V.
was released to foster care.
and Valladares were each charged with one count of
first-degree assault, one count of second-degree assault, and
thirteen counts of first-degree criminal abuse. Before trial,
Valladares reached a deal with the prosecution and pled
guilty to several offenses in exchange for a recommended
sentence of twenty years. Richmond chose to proceed to trial.
a five-day trial in April 2016, the jury heard of the
systemic abuse Valladares and Richmond inflicted upon N.V.
designed to "break" N.V. of her autism. Richmond
and Valladares lived together with N.V. and Richmond's
teenage son. N.V. initially attended public school. However,
after the school contacted Valladares regarding red marks on
N.V.'s legs, discovered while assisting the child use the
restrpom, he initially asked that the school no longer assist
her, but eventually took her out of school to be
"homeschooled." Valladares admitted that he had no
experience or plan for homeschooling N.V., and her
instruction eventually disintegrated into N.V. being forced
to sit for hours writing lines in a "corrections"
binder. The binder contained over 300 entries, mostly dealing
with "unfavorable" behavior and the punishments
N.V. received for such behavior. Most of this behavior and
punishment centered around N.V.'s accidental or untimely
urination and defecation. N.V. was restrained at the table
writing corrections for so long that she developed pressure
sores on her buttocks and legs, which were sprayed with
alcohol to clean the wounds, but also to "wake her
up." In addition, N.V. was forced to remain in her
soiled bed if she had an accident during the night, and
eventually she was forced to sleep on a trash bag or puppy
pad directly on the floor. Text messages between Valladares
and Richmond also referred to N.V. having feces applied to
her face and made to ingest her urine or feces.
trial, Valladares admitted that he and Richmond abused N.V.,
and, in fact, much of the abuse seemed crafted by Richmond;
she even drafted a routine to make sure Valladares stuck to
the "schedule" of abuse while she was at work.
Other forms of abuse included forcing N.V. to endure cold
showers, sometimes every hour, resulting in the phrase
"showers on the hours" to be used in the home.
Investigators also found a leather belt hanging next to the
shower, purportedly for Valladares to whip the child in the
shower. Valladares and Richmond also withheld food from N.V.
and made her "earn" the food she was given,
resulting in extreme malnutrition and starvation over time.
In contrast, Richmond's son did not endure any of this
treatment, coming and going as he pleased, with his own mini
fridge in his room.
N.V.'s condition became so dire that Richmond was
compelled to bring her to the hospital, at which time the
child abuse became evident. During police interviews,
Richmond initially denied any abuse, alleging, among other
statements, that N.V. had been fine a few days earlier, that
she had no idea what could have caused the pressure sores,
and that she had never limited N.V.'s food intake. But
when confronted with Valladares's statements and evidence
contrary to her version of events, Richmond admitted to the
abuse, e.g., forcing N.V. to remain in a soiled bed
or on puppy pads, spanking N.V. while she was in the cold
shower, and knowing that Valladares gave N.V. cold showers.
deliberating for a little over an hour, the jury returned a
guilty verdict for one count of first-degree assault, one
count of second-degree assault, and 11 counts of first-degree
criminal abuse,  with a recommended sentence to run
consecutively for a total of 90 years. In June 2016, the
trial court denied Richmond's motion for a new trial and
sentenced her to total of 70 years. This appeal follows as a
matter of right.