Craig, Lazich Denounce Sentence of Mom Whose Twins Drowned While She Slept

Waukesha County lawmakers express 'grave concern and anguish' over sentence of East Troy mother, who received one year in jail and 14 years probation in the deaths of her 11-month-old twins.

Two Waukesha County lawmakers are joining other state legislators in decrying what they say is a light sentence for woman convicted of child abuse in the deaths of her infant twins.

In September 2011, Melody Butt's twin girl and boy were in a bathtub and drowned after the East Troy woman admitted she had fallen asleep. Her husband came home to find the two children unresponsive.

On Tuesday, a Walworth County judge sentenced her to one year in jail with work-release privileges and 14 years of probation — a sentence that even her husband didn't think was harsh enough, according to FOX 6 News.

State Rep. Dave Craig (R-Vernon) and state Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) joined five other lawmakers in sending a letter to Wisconsin Department of Corrections Secretary Gary Hamblin and Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Secretary Eloise Anderson basically condemning the sentence.

"We are writing you today to express our grave concern and anguish over a matter which we believe calls for further scrutiny and review by both agencies you lead," the letter stated.

It continued:

"As you may know, a horrific tragedy occurred last year in East Troy, Wisconsin, where two innocent young children died as a result of the gross negligence and irresponsible actions of their mother. As many of us are parents, we were deeply troubled by the lack of care for these precious lives and heartbroken after learning more of this case and the conditions in which these children were raised."

The lawmakers said they felt that the sentence, handed down by Walworth County Circuit Court Judge David Reddy, fell "well short of a suitable response to such a heinous act." 

Butt pleaded guilty to felony child neglect charges and could have been sentenced to a lengthy term in prison, along with significant fines, they explained. In addition, her rights to her other young children could have been revoked entirely.

"Unfortunately, that did not occur. Instead, the mother will only serve one year in a work-release program, retain her rights to visit the surviving children, and serve 14 years on probation," they wrote.

They asked the secretaries to review the case to determine "why the system failed these innocent children," and to outline what involvement the agencies would have in overseeing Butt's surviving children.

"We understand anything we do will neither bring those children back, nor alleviate the pain so many have endured," the letter concluded. "But we have a responsibility to seek answers to these tragedies and determine how we, as a state, can improve the manner in which such cases are handled, and how we can better protect our children."

Denise Konkol August 06, 2012 at 10:53 PM
It does make me shake my head...smother your kid in bed and there's no charges. We are fostering a culture that does not value life at any stage.
Lois Liebau-Templin August 08, 2012 at 07:26 PM
It is true. We have become, with many people, a society of disposing of things, and even people, that we do not want anymore. It is not this way with all people, and I am so thankful for that. But, so many, especially the young, are this way. See how many elderly people are put away in a so called health care center, and left there, with no contact from anyone in their families. Schools, and day care places, are left to raise children, because both of the parents have to work. Or for some parents, it is easier for someone else to raise the children. This lady who let her beautiful children die, while she was so engross in her own need for a nap. Would you do that to your wonderful children? I think not. But, look how she gets away with what she did, with just a slap on the fingers!!!!
Tina August 31, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Ms Butt lived in the same apartment community as i and she fell asleep not out of exhaustion from taking care of her 4 children but from the drugs she had just injested. Her children were known to run around the apartment community they lived in and management had to phone her multiple times to let her know that even her twins were outside unattended. And yet she just had another child?
Brian Thompson February 04, 2013 at 11:10 PM
i know not a one person understsnds the outcome of this but i must say iv never even thought of such a thing and iv ben a single mother of 2 and worked somtimes double shifts i noticed her 6yr old commented that her and the 2yr old were taking care of the twins mostly,how does anyone know she didnt just expect her 2yr old to do it for her nap?and how would they get outside did they walk?how is it then they could not get out of an apartment bathtub?there is NO excuse for this!she sees them everyday except 1 now at her parents, well she lived w people,they left and that happend,u think her paretnts believe all this?u can tell me they dont trust her enough to run to the store and leave her?please,now if anything happens again whos fault would it be then?if you are not fit,you just arent,esp.to that point!what makes you think you can change her,not even the birth of her children could,that bond didnt excist,now is the goal here to help her develope one?no,it doesnt work that way,they were already hers!!!
Brian Thompson February 04, 2013 at 11:31 PM
this has touched so many hearts hurt even who didnt know them,this is one of the most horrid,saddest things any 1 person could read or hear,being in the same area and having to witness everything,i feel so sad for you as well.after all read and heard the babies sadly to say may just be now in a better place,blessed in the arms of our creator.we are only in hopes the others never have to experience the true side of the one who has brought them into this world!


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