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R.I. mother to serve 20 years in daughter’s death

Kimberly Fry spoke to the court before she was sentenced by Superior Court Judge William E. Carnes Jr. on Tuesday in Providence.

STEVE SZYDLOWSKI/PROVIDENCE JOURNAL

Kimberly Fry spoke to the court before she was sentenced by Superior Court Judge William E. Carnes Jr. on Tuesday in Providence.

PROVIDENCE - A Rhode Island mother convicted of strangling her 8-year-old daughter in 2009 after the girl refused to take a bath and threw a two-hour tantrum was ordered Tuesday to serve 20 years in prison.

A judge in Providence ordered Kimberly Fry to serve 20 years of a 40-year sentence. The 38-year-old North Kingstown resident said at the hearing that she would forever hate herself and that she wished she were dead so she could be reunited with her daughter Camden in heaven.

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Fry was convicted in October of second-degree murder. She did not react visibly to the sentence but was being comforted by her attorney.

Camden’s father, Timothy, said he is heartbroken by Camden’s death.

Prosecutors said Fry followed Camden into her bedroom after her bath on Aug. 09, 2009, and strangled her, then tucked her lifeless body into bed with her favorite stuffed animal.

Camden’s father found the girl dead in her bed the next morning at the family’s home in North Kingstown.

Fry was hospitalized later that day for overdosing on prescription medications she took the night before in a suicide attempt.

At trial, Fry’s lawyer called Camden’s death “a tragic accident’’ and said the girl was prone to tantrums and had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Prosecutors argued that Fry blamed her depression on Camden and told her husband, Timothy, 42, that she wished the girl “wasn’t around.’’

Dr. William Cox, the medical examiner, testified for the prosecution that Camden died of cardio and respiratory failure caused by the strangulation. He said she lost consciousness within 10 to 20 seconds and died four to six minutes later. Cox pegged her time of death at between 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Dr. Elizabeth Laposata, a defense witness and the state’s former chief medical examiner, demonstrated on a mannequin the same size as Camden how Laposata believed the girl was straddled, her arm pinned down with a knee, her mouth covered with a hand, and pressure applied to the sides of her neck and collarbone.

Laposata said Camden died as a result of asphyxiation brought on by a combination of chest compressions, suffocation, and pressure being applied to the sides of her neck. She testified that Camden lost consciousness within two or three minutes of the restraint beginning. Laposata said Camden died in five to 10 minutes.

When Fry spoke to her husband on the phone later that night, Timothy Fry testified she told him Camden was “quiet now’’ after a “two-hour crying fit.’’

Her lawyer said Fry did not know that the restraint killed Camden and even turned on the girl’s night light.

Fry’s public defender said that the girl was thrashing, biting, kicking, and hitting her mother as she tried to get her to bathe and get ready for bed while Timothy Fry was at hockey practice.

To try to calm her down, attorney Sarah Wright said, Kimberly Fry sat on Camden, as she had done successfully three months prior while the girl was having a tantrum while her husband was on a business trip. Wright no longer represents Fry.

The defense portrayed Fry as a loving mother who sought medical treatment, academic help, and family counseling for Camden, who struggled in school, threw tantrums that lasted an hour or longer, and was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder two months before she died.

Fry herself struggled with insomnia, took medication for depression, and was suicidal in the two weeks before Camden died, according to the defense.

Hospital staff testified that Fry made incriminating statements about Camden’s death during her stay.

Authorities also say Fry left behind a note in which she wrote she felt “beaten down by an 8-year-old.’’

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