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North Kingstown Patch
The prosecution and defense agree Camden Fry died at the hands of her mother, but disagree on Kimberly Fry’s intent.
By Patrick Luce
On Aug. 10, 2009, 8-year-old Camden Fry died at the hands of her mother. That much is not in dispute. But, did Kimberly Fry intend to kill her daughter? Attorneys presented very different answers to the question as Fry’s second-degree murder trial got underway in Washington County Superior Court Friday.
Prosecutor Stephen Regine said Fry’s own words indicate her intent. After strangling her daughter, Fry took a mix of antidepressants and pain killers in a bid to kill herself, at the same time penning a suicide note to her husband, Tim, Regine said during his opening argument Friday morning.
In the note, Fry indicated she could no longer handle the crying and outbursts from her daughter, who had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the prosecutor told the jury of seven men and seven women. Regine read excerpts from the letter, quoting Fry as writing, “I wanted to run away, not from you but from her. All I wanted was a nice decent life. I was beaten down by an 8-year-old.”
Regine told the jury Fry had made similar statements, blaming Camden for her depression and expressing her desire to be alone with her husband as early as Camden’s seventh birthday in 2008. To achieve that end, Fry strangled her daughter in their home at 73 Ricci Ln., continually applying pressure to her neck and chest for upwards of four minutes, until the girl died, Regine said.
The next morning, after Tim Fry found Camden’s body and called authorities, Kimberly Fry sobbed over her daughter’s body, saying “I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” Regine said. She later admitted to employees at South County Hospital to killing her daughter, Regine said, telling a nurse she had “sat on her daughter and put her hands on her mouth to make her stop crying.”
Defense attorney Sarah Wright acknowledged that Camden died at her mother’s hands, but told the jury evidence will show there was no intent to kill or harm her daughter. Rather, she was performing a restraint technique designed to stop the temper tantrum Camden was throwing after refusing to take a bath, Wright said.
Wright told the jury an independent autopsy determined the death occurred in the course of performing the restraint, not due to manual strangulation as the medical examiner concluded.
Wright offered a different interpretation of Fry’s words in her suicide letter, noting the prosecution cannot establish a timeline as to when Fry wrote the letter. The note, Wright said, never mentions taking her daughter’s life. Rather, it discusses Fry’s own difficulties. “This is not a note that explains what happened to Camden,” Wright said. “It’s about what happened to Kimberly.”
Wright painted Fry as a concerned mother who repeatedly attempted to seek help for her daughter’s condition, and was trying to calm her the night of her death. “This is something Kimberly Fry will never forgive herself for,” Wright said. “But did she intend to kill her? While it’s true that Kimberly Fry’s actions did cause Camden’s death, the evidence will show it was unintentional.”
The trial is expected to resume this afternoon as Regine begins presenting his case. Fry’s second-degree murder charge carries the possibility of life in prison if she is convicted.