By Dave Andrusko
On Monday Kansas Judge Patrick Thompson sentenced Desirah N. Overturf to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years in connection with the death by starvation of her three-month-old son.
Overturf, 21, pled no contest to first degree murder charges in the death of her son Jordan, whose “skin just hanging on his bones,” according to Saline County Attorney Ellen Mitchell. When Jordan died last December, he weighed less than when he was born.
Nicholas Corbin, the baby’s father, also pled no contest and will be sentenced later this month, KSAL’s Todd Pittenger reported.
According to Pittenger, Mitchell
“said that the couple was not happy about having a child. Shortly after the baby was born they discovered that their lives would never be the same again, and decided to do something about it. At a two week doctor appointment Jordan was fine. At four weeks, though, the doctor had some concerns about nutrition and other issues.
“According to Mitchell the couple felt they were being judged, and chose not to go back to the same doctor. They also decided that they no longer wanted Jordan, wanted their own lives back, and made a conscious decision to stop feeding him. Mitchell said that in the last 30 days of his life Jordan ‘at most ate just a little bit of food every other day.’ The couple knew he would starve to death. Mitchell added that at times when Jordan would cry because he was hungry, Nicholas would drug him with a sleep aid medication to quiet him.”
Mitchell described the baby’s last day—the day after Christmas. When the couple walked into a Wendy’s a female customer took one look at Jordan, gave the couple $20, and told store employee of her concern. “The couple then walked home,” Mitchell said.
“They discovered that Jordan was not breathing, was cold, and was rigid. They placed him in warm water, but did not do anything for several hours. During that time they cooked a meal and ate. They eventually called Salina Regional Health Center, and were told to immediately call 911. But they still didn’t right away, instead cleaning the house first.”
“He had only a short life, and was only taken care of properly for the first couple of weeks,” Mitchell concluded.
Overturf’s attorney, Julie Effenbeck, asked for lenience, telling Judge Thompson that her client had a personality disorder. Wichita Psychologist Dr. Jarrod Steffan concurred, testifying that “she was not the promoter of what happened, but she did not do anything to prevent what happened.” Overturf’s mother placed much of the blame on Corbin.
According to Pittenger, Judge Thompson told Overturf
“that while he empathizes with her mental issues, ‘it does not excuse the actions toward your son.’ He said that the death was not the result of one single action or decision, but rather a ‘repetitive decision to starve this child.’ The Judge added that ‘every time this child cried out in hunger you made the decision to continue to starve him. You chose to starve him to death, and stood by while Nicholas administered drugs.’”