Three years after starving her son, a mom was arrested again after her toddler daughter died. Making matters even worse is the sentence she received and the smile on her face.
Summer Rose Kazzee had her infant son removed from her care after he was starved. At 8 weeks old, the baby was emaciated, weighing less than his birth weight. At the conclusion of a two-day trial, Kazzee was convicted of first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor for starving her newborn son. Although the charge was punishable by up to six years in prison, Kazzee was sentenced to only three.
Some thought the soft sentence was still too harsh after learning about Kazzee’s own childhood. “Under questioning by her attorney, Clay Janske, Kazzee described how she was home-schooled after being bullied in public school and basically had a ninth-grade education. She also revealed she was raped and sexually molested from the age of 3 until she was 10 by a man who was later convicted of raping her and sentenced to two life terms,” The Sentinel-Record reported.
While Kazzee was ultimately found fit for trial, Janske said she was “low functioning” and suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, leaving him shocked by the prison sentence. “I realize Summer was a terrible mother, but to send her to prison after the jury heard about her life? I put on the evidence of her being raped most of her life and that she had no education and how pitiful she is,” he said in disbelief. “For them to give jail time was absolutely heartless.”
The sentence was recommended by jurors after an hour of deliberation. At the time, Arkansas was one of only a few states where juries decide sentences. Disagreeing with their decision, Janske said it may be time for Arkansas to follow the majority of states in only allowing judges to decide sentences, but it seems the jurors had it right. Only three years after starving her son, the 22-year-old Arkansas mother was arrested again when her 20-month-old daughter Lucy Weber died in her care, according to Metro.
Rather than serving her three-year sentence, Kazzee was paroled about eight months later, giving her the opportunity to harm one of her twins, who were born after she was arrested for endangering her son. After being called to a home in Hot Springs for reports of an unresponsive child, police arrived to find personnel from the Hot Springs Fire Department performing CPR on Lucy.
First responders continued CPR “well after LifeNet arrived,” according to The Arkansas Democrat Gazzette, but their attempts to revive the toddler were unsuccessful. Lucy was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead, and once again, Summer Rose Kazzee would be accused of causing the harm that came to her child under her “care.”
During an interview with detectives, Kazzee said she tried to put the twins down for a nap around 3 pm. When the little girl refused to stay in bed, Kazzee put her in a car seat on the floor. She said she strapped both the top and bottom straps of the seat and her daughter began “rocking herself to sleep,” so she left the twins in the back bedroom, closed the door, and went to the living room at the front of the house.
Kazzee said she went to check on her children an hour and a half later. Her daughter was rocking and “even clapping her hands,” she said. After another thirty minutes, Kazzee said she “jumped off the couch,” having realized she couldn’t hear her daughter. She told detectives she ran into the bedroom and found Lucy with the car seat buckle in her throat.
As detectives doubted the child’s ability to unbuckle the seat herself, Kazzee finally admitted that she “may not have buckled it all the way” and that the car seat was used by her daughter when she was an infant, People reported. Kazzee said Lucy had never unbuckled the seat before and that she had tied a blanket around the bottom buckle so the toddler “would not mess with it.”
The medical examiner measured the straps and the length of the victim and determined the child could not have unbuckled it herself. Kazzee was arrested on negligent homicide charges, according to Garland County Jail records. During her trial, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Kara Petro noted that Lucy was placed in an infant car seat for which “she was a little too big,” The Sentinel-Record reported.
The seat was only buckled at the top, according to Petro, allowing Lucy to move around and “scoot down to the bottom.” The toddler got the buckle across her neck where it “put pressure on the blood vessels” and “restricted the blood flow” so she was “strangled in a sense,” the prosecutor explained, adding that Kazzee was negligent in leaving the child unattended for so long.
Facing only misdemeanor charges for Lucy’s death, Kazzee pleaded guilty. She was sentenced to just seven months in jail and given credit for time served. This is the second pathetic injustice where Summer Rose Kazzee is concerned. Had she been kept behind bars for her three-year sentence, her daughter would still be alive. Instead, Kazzee was freed, her twins were left in her “care,” and an innocent child is now dead. The parole board should be ashamed.