A northwestern Illinois woman has been sentenced to probation after pleading guilty in connection with the death of her 15-year-old disabled son, who weighed 38 pounds when he died.
A Rock Island County judge sentenced Jennifer Keim, 36, on Friday to four years of probation, the Quad City Times reported.
The Moline woman was initially charged with murder in Joseph “J.J.” Hammond’s November 2020, death, with prosecutors alleging that Keim failed to provide “appropriate hydration, nutrition and medical care” for her son.
But in September, Keim agreed to plead guilty to an amended felony charge of criminal abuse or neglect of a person with a disability.
Rock Island County Assistant State’s Attorney Sean Williams had sought the maximum sentence of 14 years, saying Keim showed “a horrible lack of action” and noting that her son weighed just 38 pounds when he died.
Keim told the court that by November of 2020 the spread of COVID-19 had filled her with “overwhelming fear and panic.” Her attorney, Jon Ruud, told the court those fears about the pandemic had an impact Keim’s decision-making.
“We might not remember it well today, but in the fall of 2020 the world was on fire,” Ruud said. “We were told to not go to emergency rooms.”
Keim’s husband, Justin Keim, 34, is charged with neglect/abuse of a disabled person in the teen’s death.
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