published Thursday, February 21st, 2013

State supreme court reinstates child visitation for Bradley County mother who tried to kill husband

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that a mother who spent seven years in prison for injecting her children’s father with a chemical used to euthanize animals can have her visitation rights restored.

The woman, identified only as Karen H., in the court’s opinion, injected Robert W. with the chemical shortly after their 2002 divorce.

She later pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder and was sent to state prison.

While in prison, a custody arrangement allowed Karen’s mother to take the 7- and 5-year-old children for prison visits and for them to speak with their mother over the phone.

In 2009 the father married a woman named Loy from Texas and the couple attempted to terminate Karen’s parental plan. In November 2010, shortly after Karen was released from prison the Bradley County Circuit Court held a trial.

The judge ruled that the parenting plan should stay in effect and that Karen would continue to have visitation rights.

Robert and Loy appealed. The appeals court reversed the trial court’s decision and terminated Karen’s visitation rights.

In a unanimous decision, the state’s top court overruled that decision and upheld Bradley County Circuit Court’s original ruling, giving Karen her visitation rights back.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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