Mom Paroled in 1994 Child-Abuse Homicide

Date: 1998-02-04

Mom Paroled in 1994 Child-Abuse Homicide

February 4, 1998
BRIAN MAFFLY
Salt Lake Tribune 

A former foster mother will be paroled next Tuesday, 1 1/2 years after going to prison for the April 1994 death of a 3-year-old boy, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole has ruled.

Darlene Bright, 35, was charged with murder after the boy, Kameron Bright, died of a suspicious head injury in April 1994. Throughout the prosecution, she maintained Kameron fell from a bunk bed at her West Valley City home.

Although inconclusive, the medical evidence suggested Kameron's skull fracture was more consistent with abuse than an accident.

The injury was inflicted by a force consistent with a fall from several stories or a swinging bat. And hospital staff testified Bright seemed unconcerned when she brought the child to an emergency room about two hours after he collapsed.

Rather than risk a murder conviction at trial, Bright pleaded guilty to a reduced child-abuse homicide charge. She denied harming the boy but said she accepted responsibility because she was not supervising him closely enough to prevent his death.

Third District Judge Pat Brian dismissed this explanation. At the August 1996 sentencing, he ordered her to serve up to 5 years in prison over prosecutors' recommendation for probation and some jail time.

In 1992, Kameron and his older brother were taken into state custody after their biological mother lost parental rights and went to jail on drug and prostitution convictions. The boys were placed in foster care at the home of Darlene and Marty Bright, who later adopted the children.

Bright's parole requires her to attend weekly therapy sessions to address issues surrounding parenting and stress.

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