Nation

Mom of autistic girl pleads guilty to child abuse

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A northern Michigan woman accused of trying to kill her autistic 14-year-old daughter after describing in an online blog the family’s struggles to raise her pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree child abuse.

Kelli Stapleton, 46, entered the plea the day before she was scheduled for trial in Benzie County Circuit Court on a charge of attempted murder, a year after police said she drove daughter Isabelle to an isolated spot, gave her sleep-inducing medication, and ignited charcoal in two grills inside a van, intending to kill both of them.

Isabelle has recovered after suffering carbon-monoxide poisoning that left her in a coma for several days, county prosecutor Sara Swanson said.

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‘‘This was an extremely serious incident, which could have resulted in the death of an innocent child,’’ Swanson said. ‘‘A conviction of this felony carrying a maximum penalty of life in prison, and the prison sentence we expect it to carry, is the right resolution for the community, the defendant, and our victim, Isabelle.’’

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Stapleton had intended to offer an insanity plea if the case had gone to trial but wanted a quicker conclusion to the case, defense attorney Heidi Hodek said.

‘‘Ultimately, Kelli didn’t want to put her family through any more,’’ Hodek said.

Associated Press