LOGAN — A judge has sentenced Heidi M. Rutchey to prison for killing her infant son almost four-years ago. Judge Thomas Willmore ordered the 46-year-old River Height’s mother to serve one-to-15-years, calling the homicide a horrendous crime.
Rutchey appeared in 1st District Court Wednesday morning to be sentenced on one count of child abuse homicide, a second-degree felony.
Judge Willmore told Rutchey he would refer her to the mental health unit of the prison, give her credit for the almost four-years she has already served, and recommend to the parole board that when she’s released, they place her in a half-way house. Judge Wilmore said his sentence would hopefully help her to go forward in life without committing further crimes.
Defense attorney David Perry had asked the court to sentence Rutchey to probation rather than prison because of her mental condition. Even though he was unhappy with the ruling, outside the courtroom he expressed appreciation for Judge Willmore, taking into account all of the options.
“I was pushing for a probationary sentence,” Perry said. “That is what her doctor wanted. The doctor felt like through Bear River Mental Health, she could receive the treatment she needs rather than risk going to prison, in general population, where she will probably decompensate and we will have to start all over again.”
Rutchey was being medicated for mental health issues in September 2013. Cache County Sheriff’s deputies report she stopped taking her prescriptions and went into a delusional state of mind. During that time, she suffocated her two-year-old son Eli. Later in November 2016, she was found competent to stand trial after being treated at the state hospital for three-years. In July, she pleaded guilty by reason of insanity to the murder.
Outside the courtroom, Perry said Rutchey has made a lot of progress over the past four-years while he has represented her.
“She is helping other inmates out, who have mental illness problems and is trying to console them. I just encourage her to keep doing that, keep taking her medications and that hopefully she gets paroled to a half-way house sooner rather than later.”
Rutchey cried and wiped away tears during Wednesday’s sentencing. She told the court she was sad about what happened and there was nothing she could do to fix it.
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