Jury begins deliberations in Texas mom's trial

Published on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 19:30 - Written by

ABILENE, Texas (AP) — A jury began deliberating Wednesday in the trial of a West Texas woman accused of malnutrition and neglect in her daughter's death.

Both sides gave their closing arguments in Abilene in the trial of Tiffany Klapheke, 23. She is charged with injury to a child in the 2012 death of 22-month-old Tamryn Klapheke at their home on Dyess Air Force Base. If convicted, she could receive a life sentence.

Prosecutor Joel Wilks said Klapheke "turned her back," adding, "She shuts the door and she leaves. She leaves that child in pain."

Klapheke, who didn't testify, has said her Air Force husband's deployment overseas left her too stressed to care for the three girls.

Prosecutors said Klapheke had kept Tamryn locked in a room for four days before she found her dead in her crib and called 911.

Airman Thomas Klapheke divorced his wife. The state has temporary conservatorship with their father granted restrictive custody.

The Abilene Reporter-News ( mental state at the time of the girl's death.

Samuel Brinkman, an Abilene neuropsychologist who served as an expert witness for Klapheke's defense team, testified that Klapheke suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and reactive attachment disorder, both results of trauma she endured as a child.

Another expert witness for the defense, Houston-based psychologist Mark Wernick, testified that Klapheke likely suffers from both conditions.

Marc Orner, an Abilene psychotherapist, testified as an expert witness for the state. Orner said "there's very little to disagree with" in the diagnosis by Brinkman and Wernick. But he did not agree with the conclusion that the woman fell victim to a "dissociative state" before reportedly neglecting her three children, one of them to the point of death.

Information from: Abilene Reporter-News,

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