Daveeta Walker, the young Kalamazoo mother convicted of torturing and abusing her young daughter to death, has been sentenced to life in prison. Court records show that in addition to the criminal charges, there is currently an abuse and neglect case pending against her in the Family Division of Kalamazoo County Circuit Court.
According to police reports, on March 26th, officers responded to a 911 call at an apartment in Kalamazoo. They found 4-year-old Kharisma Richardson in her bedroom, unresponsive and not breathing. In another room, officers found three other children watching a pornographic movie. Kharisma was declared dead at the scene.
In an interview with the media several days after Kharisma’s death, Walker said “I just woke up and she was dead. I went to pick her up and she was stiff. I just laid her back down and called police.” The autopsy results however, revealed a different picture of how Kharisma died.
According to the medical examiner’s office, she had suffered blunt force trauma, along with bruises, burns, and blisters. In testimony provided during the trial by the Deputy Medical Examiner, Kharisma sustained approximately 40 to 50 scars, 150 scabs, 10 bruises and 25 individual burns. In addition, she also had four or five internal hemorrhages.
Kalamazoo Circuit Court Judge Judge Pamela L. Lightvoet addressed Walker directly when handing down the sentence. “The burns on her feet were appalling. I cannot imagine the pain she endured. It probably took hours for her to die.” Judge Lightvoet then sentenced her to life in prison.
At only 25-years-of-age, a life sentence means this mother is looking at an average of 50 years behind bars, assuming that her life expectancy averages that of a non-prisoner. According to Michigan’s life expectancy data for incarcerated individuals, however, It is generally accepted that “life in prison, with its stressors, violence and disease, in and of itself significantly shortens one’s life expectancy.“
With regard to the abuse and neglect petition filed by CPS, the state has already removed Walker’s other three children, sons aged 2, 5, and 6, along with the baby she gave birth to in July. The infant was already removed by CPS and placed in foster care.