SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin woman recently convicted of killing her daughter more than 50 years ago is an "evil monster" who deserves to die in prison, said her adult son, who claims he suffered years of horrific abuse at his mother's hands.
Ruby C. Klokow, 76, of Sheboygan, pleaded no contest in February to second-degree murder in the 1957 death of her 6-month-old daughter, Jeaneen. But as part of a plea agreement, prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence of 45 days in jail and 10 years' probation, citing her age and medical issues.
That's unacceptable, said her son, James Klokow Jr. He wants his mother sentenced to 20 years, certain that she won't live long enough to serve the entire term.
"Anybody that kills a little child that can't defend themselves is an evil monster and don't deserve to have freedom," the 57-year-old told The Associated Press on Monday, a few hours before his mother was originally scheduled to be sentenced.
The sentencing hearing was later delayed to May 1. A message left with her attorney was not immediately returned.
Ruby Klokow initially told investigators Jeaneen had rolled off a couch and bumped her head, and investigators ruled the baby's death an accident. But the case was reopened in 2008, after James Klokow reported stories of abuse.
After a lengthy investigation, Ruby Klokow eventually conceded she may have roughly thrown the baby on the couch, causing her to bounce to the floor.
"I think she didn't want us to be born," James Klokow said.
Ruby Klokow's criminal case has been delayed several times since she was charged in 2011. Her mental health status was in question, but a judge ultimately decided she was competent to assist in her defense.
The baby's death forever haunted James Klokow. He said his mother blamed him, telling him it was his misbehavior that distracted her and led to Jeaneen's death.
He also told police that his mother regularly beat him, and that she had choked him and broke his arm and nose. He also described his mother covering the head of his mentally challenged younger brother and striking the wailing boy's toes one by one with a hammer.
"Before I went to junior high school my mom would grab me by the neck, bounce my head ... off the wall, punched me as hard as she could with her fist in the stomach," he said. "She would take her fist and hit my across the ears. ... Believe me, I was hurting so bad that when I went to school, all I would do is stare."
District attorney Joe DeCecco acknowledged that a 45-day sentence was light but said the plea agreement was in the best interest of the state. He said it would have been difficult to convince a jury that the grandmotherly woman before them was once a very angry young woman who didn't want to be a mother and who lied to police.
Besides Jeaneen and James, Klokow had another child, Scott, who died as a baby. His body was disinterred as police investigated but his death could not be considered suspicious, DeCecco said.
Ramde, who reported from Milwaukee, can be reached at dramde(at)ap.org.
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