Ben FitzPatrick and wife Sarah can’t believe the foster mother who killed Braxton Taylor got just 10 years in prison.
The couple fostered Braxton from birth to seven months when he was transferred to Kathleen Ganiere. In just a couple of months, he went from healthy and happy, to bruised and battered, and then, he died.
“It`s perplexing why someone like Miss Kathleen Ganiere would be a murderer,” says Robert Morin, the Director of Virginia Beach Human Services.
He apologized for the way Braxton’s case was handled. He admits his staff missed clear signs of abuse. He has put in place new policies, and he’s asked for a state review. But one thing neither the new policies nor the state review will address is how someone like Ganiere became a foster mother in the first place.
“I don`t think anybody had any sense that she would be as destructive, and be a killer quite honestly,” says Morin.
“I don`t know what her motive was for being a foster parent,” says Sarah.
We may never know. In court she said she really doesn’t know why she killed Braxton, and she has declined our requests for an interview. But what we do know is why she got just a decade in prison. And here is the part that will surprise you: The judge actually threw the book at her.
Prosecutors backed off murder charges and let her plead guilty to manslaughter. But with her clean background, state guidelines called for only probation.
That means no jail time for killing her foster baby. Beach prosecutors pushed for eight years but Circuit Court Judge Patricia West went beyond that. She ordered 10 years.
That is the maximum for manslaughter.