Waukegan woman pleads guilty to killing infant in 2012
A Waukegan woman was sentenced to 23 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to killing a 3-month-old girl she was baby-sitting in 2012.
Sarah Gumm, 36, wept openly in court as she pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder in the death of Rylan Aislee Koopmeiners of Kenosha.
As part of the negotiated plea, she is required to serve 100 percent of the sentence before being eligible for release, Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti said. Gumm is also to register as violent offender against youth after being released.
She received 1,299 days' credit for time she already served in Lake County jail.
Gumm could have been sentenced to a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life behind bars if she had been found guilty at trial.
"Sarah took this deal, not because she was guilty, but because she couldn't find a way to win if it went to trial," her husband, James Gumm, said after the plea deal was accepted. "Sarah is not a murderer."
Gumm slammed Rylan's head on a table July 27, 2012, Assistant State's Attorney Eric Kalata said. Paramedics were called to Gumm's house for an unresponsive baby girl.
Kalata said in court the baby was not breathing when paramedics arrived, and the baby was pronounced dead at the hospital later that day. Kalata said the baby died of blunt force trauma from the slam, which caused a 4-inch by ½-inch crack in her skull.
During the investigation, Gumm gave at least four versions of how the child died, Kalata said. Gumm later confessed to hitting the child's head against the table, he said.
Authorities previously said Gumm left the baby at home alone on two occasions the day the infant died.
Prosecutors read a short victim impact statement from the Koopmeinerses in court Monday, in which the family said they miss the child every day. "We hope we will see you when our work here is done," the statement added.
Defense attorneys Jed Stone and Greg Nikitas said they appreciated the state's attorney's office for working with them to resolve the case.
"Both Greg and I did everything we could to get ready for a very difficult trial," Stone said. "At the end of the day, Greg and I believed Sarah had no choice but to accept a plea deal."