NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches woman charged in the death of her three-year-old daughter pleaded guilty to the crime Monday morning, accepting two 12-year prison sentences that will run concurrently. She was also fined $10,000.
Joy Faye (Simmons) Yates, 25, was charged with two counts of injury to a child in Kaylan Broumley's death in early 2009. Her then boyfriend, Anthony Roberts, pleaded guilty to the same crime in July 2010, accepting the same sentence. Roberts was originally charged with capital murder in the death, but accepted the lesser charge. A grand jury indicted Yates for injury to a child in august 2010.
The investigation into the death began in February 2009, when Roberts pushed Broumley, causing a severe head injury and death. Roberts convinced Yates to tell investigators that Broumley suffered the injuries when she fell off a horse.
State attorney general prosecutors offered Yates the plea. Prior to today Yates repeatedly claimed her innocence, but finally accepted the offer, knowing she could receive life if convicted.
During the hearing Monday, Kaylan's father, Rocky Broumley, gave a very brief victim impact statement to Yates.
"You've been sentenced to 12 years. That's not enough. You know what you did. That's not going to be your payment," Broumley said.
He appeared shaken as he exited the courtroom. He said seeing Yates for the first time since the child's death made him forget everything he really wanted to say.
Broumley is extremely reserved. Yet it was this quiet spoken father who alerted Child Protective Services of alleged abuse back in 2005, four years before Kaylan's brain injury and detection of multiple bruises across her entire body. When buried, she had burns on her feet and toes. Initial investigations were conducted, but allegations were ruled out. In 2008, neglectful supervision allegations surfaced. Yates was referred to counseling, but the children remained in the household.
Today, Rocky is trying to put the images out of his mind. When asked about the 12 year sentence Rocky answered, "Nothing they could have given her could bring my baby back. God may forgive, but I haven't."
Yates' attorney said the plea was a smart offer to accept. "She certainly knew that she got charged for not having done enough to save her daughter," said Noel Cooper. "And that's what it really comes down to. For the rest of her life she's going to have to live with, I've been charged with and pleaded to not doing enough and I could have done more."
What kind of woman backs up the lies of a boyfriend when it comes to her daughter's death? Court records report Joy Yates was a also a victim of abuse as a child. All of her sisters have had CPS involvement and two have had children removed. Joy was a young mother with no positive support system. She was a drug user.
After Kaylan's brain injury Joy's other children were removed by CPS, but the order came too late for Kaylan. That's upsetting to Court Appointed Special Advocates, an agency that provides a voice for foster children.
In a sad, but successful way Kaylan's case brought full attention on casa's efforts to protect abused children. The week of Kaylan's deaths reports of abuse in Nacogdoches County and surrounding counties tripled in CPS offices. Volunteers and donations to CASA picked up.
"Well, Kaylan is always remembered," said Rebecca Carlton, CASA director. "We may wonder, is our work purposeful. That is when we think about Kaylan. Child advocates will use Kaylan as an inspiration.
For now the grief stricken father wants to move on with his life and forget the sadness. Rocky Broumley is caring for his two daughters from a previous marriage and will soon become the father of a baby girl.
Yates' other daughter has been adopted. Her son is in the custody of grandparents, who Rocky visits occasionally.
Joy Yates starts her prison sentence immediately.