Sunday, November 19, 2000

Abused girl's death ruled a homicide

The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE — A coroner on Friday classified as a homicide the death of a child-abuse victim who spent most of her short life in a vegetative state.

        Brook Miller died Thursday of pneumonia at the Home of the Innocents, where she was in long-term care. She was not yet 2 years old.

        The finding Friday by Jefferson County Coroner Richard Greathouse that the death was a homicide will be sent to prosecutors, who will have to determine whether to press for a murder charge against the man already convicted of assaulting the girl when she was 4 months old.

        Prosecutors said that in March 1999, Brook was shaken and slammed either onto the floor or against an object. The girl suffered a closed head injury that caused a permanent vegetative state, Mr. Greathouse said.

        The state's Cabinet for Families and Children took custody of the child, but asked Jefferson Family Court in August to enter an order allowing her to have a natural death.

        Caregivers at the Home of the Innocents were ordered to provide food and water, but take no extraordinary measures to save her.

        The coroner said Friday that Brook's death was the result of pneumonia, which patients in a vegetative state have a risk of contracting. He ruled the death a homicide, saying the assault led eventually to the pneumonia that killed Brook.

        In September, Robert W. Meadows III, 21, of Louisville was convicted of first-degree assault and first-degree criminal abuse in Jefferson Circuit Court. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

        Mr. Meadows was baby-sitting Brook at the apartment he shared with Brook's mother, Tammy Miller, when the incident occurred. Ms. Miller, 21, of Louisville pleaded guilty to one count of criminal abuse and was sentenced to five years in prison.


'Spirit' slogan touts area
Drugs found where suspect died
Arrest of unwilling suspect can be lethal
FreeStore braces for big holiday demand
PULFER: From loss, hope
Travel for Turkey Day has begun
Tombstones tell stories of life
BRONSON: TV gridlock
WORLD TRADE: Closed-door process needs change
WORLD TRADE: Policies help raise standards
- Abused girl's death ruled a homicide
Complaints would go to bureau
CROWLEY: Unending story
CSX repair delays irk city official
Drug squad raising money
Gas cut-off got pro response
Internet threat imprisons man
Ky. troopers diversify, slowly
Local voters want fairness in election
New NATO role sought in Bosnia
Park protests possible pollution
Psychics see Bush as president
Rock climbers to help with dig
Theater group starts to take off
Kentucky News Briefs
Tristate A.M. Report