Kamee Nicole Dixon was sentenced to 34 years in prison on Wednesday for the 2019 death of 3-year-old Hazel Homan.
Homan died in 2019 after suffering from brain bleed, which doctors of the Department of Pediatrics at Harborview Medical Center said was likely due to shaken baby syndrome. An investigation also indicated a pattern of abuse.
Dixon, 30, was found guilty of homicide by abuse June 30. She was also charged with second-degree murder, but the jury was deadlocked and the charge was dismissed at the sentencing hearing.
The prosecution sought an exceptional 57-year sentence due to the unique circumstances of the case.
According to court documents, the standard range for a charge like Dixon’s is 22–29 years, but Senior Deputy Prosecutor Gordon Jenkins said the prosecution wanted to nearly double that due to Homan’s status as a particularly vulnerable victim, and because they argued Dixon had abused a “position of trust” in the offenses.
Dixon was in a relationship with Homan’s father and Homan was in her care when she sustained the injuries that led to her death.
“We thought that the aggravating circumstances of this case — the particular vulnerability of Hazel and the abuse of trust that was inherent in what was done by the defendant — warranted this 57-year sentence,” Jenkins said in an interview with Cascadia Daily News.
According to a court document submitted before the sentencing, Dixon’s attorney Douglas Hyldahl argued there were not “substantial and compelling reasons to sentence her outside the already very long standard range.”
Hyldahl said the court should sentence “justly.” He argued that the jury did find her guilty of homicide by abuse but did not find that Dixon intentionally assaulted Homan on Nov. 27, 2019. He argued that the evidence “paints a picture of a young woman who took on more than she could handle and who became overwhelmed, whose temper and frustration got the better of her, and who responded wrongly, resulting in a tragic loss of life.”
Judge David Freeman found that it was appropriate to sentence above the standard range, Jenkins said, but did not believe it was warranted to sentence Dixon to 57 years in prison.
Jenkins said the prosecution respected the court’s ability and discretion to make the final decision on the matter.