No contest plea in 1957 murder case

Feb. 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM
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SHEBOYGAN, Wis., Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Ruby Klokow of Sheboygan, Wis., pleaded no contest in a plea deal Monday to second-degree murder in the 1957 death of her baby daughter.

District Attorney Joe DeCecco will recommend Klokow, 76, be sentenced to 45 days in jail and 10 years' probation, the Sheboygan Press reported Monday, adding had the case gone to trial, she would have been tried under the laws of 1957, which required a jury to interpret the legal standards for murder.

Klokow, who had previously pleaded not guilty, told police in 1957 her 9-month-old daughter Jeaneen fell from a couch to the floor, but a forensic pathologist who recently examined reports and autopsy results concluded the injuries to the girl could not have occurred in that manner.

The case was initially closed within days of the incident, a doctor saying Klokow's actions were "irresponsible" but not criminal, but was reopened in 2008 when her son, James Klokow Jr., told police he suspected his mother killed the girl, the newspaper said.

DeCecco said if a jury found Klokow guilty of a lesser offense such as manslaughter, which no longer exists under Wisconsin law, the expired statute of limitations would prevent a sentence.

A criminal complaint noted decades of abuse in the Klokow household. Family members said Ruby Klokow struck one child's foot with a hammer, repeatedly threw Jeaneen at her husband and broke James Jr.'s arm and nose.

Klokow was declared competent to stand trial earlier this year, the newspaper said.

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