Indiana Woman Gets Six Months for Snatching Infant From Hospital — (Chicago Sun-Times)

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Chicago Sun-Times

April 27, 1996

Author: MARY A. MITCHELL

An Indiana woman who kidnapped a newborn baby from Cook County Hospital in 1993 was put on suicide watch Friday after a federal judge sentenced her to six months in prison and ordered her taken into custody immediately.

Katherine Kimble, 51, of South Bend, pleaded guilty to snatching 3-day-old Desiree Vivian Jackson from her mother. She was determined to be fit for trial after 2 1/2 years of psychological examinations.  “May God forgive me. It won’t happen no more,” Kimble said, weeping as she stood before U.S. District Judge John F. Grady.

Grady wrestled with sentencing Kimble to prison because she has an “extremely low IQ,” and might be unable to protect herself in a prison, he said.   “This defendant in the court’s view is a person who has suffered inordinately as a result of a lack of protective resources, judgment and the kind of ability to deal with stress that people of ordinary intelligence would be expected to have,” he said.   Ronald Clark, Kimble’s lawyer, argued for probation, saying his client did not pose a threat to society and should be spared incarceration because of her diminished mental capacity.

She was under a great deal of personal stress at the time and taking Prozac,” Clark said. “This was not a calculated effort to gain ransom.”

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Cook argued that letting Kimble off with probation would be a travesty.   “Nobody mentioned the victim, the mother that was childless for a number of days,” Cook said. “I can’t think of any worse crime that could happen to that mother.”

Grady agreed.   “The impact on this young mother is impossible for any of us to appreciate,” he said. “The couple of days she must have endured a torment that is simply unimaginable.”

Record Number:  CHI1031713