MI v Poole - Victim: Allison Newman
During the early morning hours of September 21, 2006 a 911 call was made from the Poole home requesting assistance because a child was non-responsive. When emergency personnel arrived they found Carol Poole there with an unresponsive toddler. Allison was transported to a local hospital and then air-lifted to another hospital due to the seriousness of her injuries.
Allison sustained a large skull fracture and her brain was beginning to swell. After her transfer to the other hospital it was determined Allison could not be saved; she was removed from life support on September 22, 2006.
Carol Poole was questioned by detectives about the events that led up to Allison’s injuries and the subsequent 911 call.
Carol Poole took detectives through a maze of stories regarding what happened to Allison. She told a total of three stories - none of them serious enough to cause the devastating injuries. Finally, with the fourth story, she revealed the most plausible story to match Allison’s devastating injuries.
Poole told police that she had been getting Newman ready for bed at 9 p.m. on Sept. 21. Her husband, Alan, was out of town. Newman was excited, and Poole picked her up and spun her around by the legs in an act Poole called “Whirlybird,” a nickname for a helicopter.
Poole told the detectives that she became dizzy from spinning around and stopped, at which point Allison also “lurched back,” came free from Poole’s grip and fell to the hardwood floor 12 feet below. Poole said she thought the child appeared responsive and put her to bed.1
Poole explained shortly after 2 a.m. she was awakened by the infant’s crying and after tending to him she checked on Allison and found her non-responsive. However, the first person she called was not the paramedics, it was her neighbor and Allison’s former foster parent Kay Smith (some articles claim Smith is also a social worker). Below is a quote from Smith’s testimony at Carol Poole’s preliminary hearing.
…Poole left a message on Smith’s answering machine the night of Newman’s injury, before she called 911. The neighbor arrived before police and discovered a relatively calm Poole outside Newman’s bedroom door.
Newman was “bluer than I’d ever seen a child,” said Smith…2
The medical examiner’s report determined Allison died from blunt force trauma to her head as well as bleeding on the surface of her brain. These injuries, according to the report, usually occur from being hit at the back of the head against a hard surface.
Carol Poole was bound over for trial on Monday, December 11, 2006 on charges of felony murder, involuntary manslaughter and first-degree child abuse in the death of Allison Newman.3
Carol Poole faces life in prison if found guilty of the charges. Her trial is set to begin in January 2008.
Carol Poole’s murder trial began with jury selection in Wayne County Circuit Court on January 7, 2008. Fourteen jurors from a pool of 72 prospective jurors will be selected for the trial that is expected to last about one week. Most jurors have indicated that they recall hearing about Allison’s death. Defense attorney Mark Satawa was unsuccessful in his request to the judge to require each potential juror fill out a juror questionnaire.4
Jury selection was completed on Tuesday, January 8, 2008 and opening statements began.
Prosecutors allege Poole finally told the truth — that she became dizzy and lost her grip on the girl’s ankles during a spinning game she called “whirlybird” and Allison fell off a balcony to the first floor. The manslaughter charge comes because prosecutors allege Poole put her daughter to bed and didn’t seek help until hours after the mishap.5
On Thursday January 10, 2008 the jury traveled to the Poole home to view the areas of the home Poole mentioned in her statements to investigators. The areas of interest are Allison’s bedroom, the two second-floor bathrooms and the second-floor balcony. The jury spent about 10 minutes in the Poole home.
Kay Smith, social worker, former foster mother to Allison, and friend to the Poole’s testified:
Carol Ann Poole left a phone message for her early Sept. 22 that something was wrong with Allison. Smith said she drove to the home after she couldn’t reach Poole by phone.
Smith testified that Poole appeared to her to be in shock because she seemed calm despite the toddler’s injuries.
“I guess if it had been my baby I would have been hysterical,” Smith said.
She said that prior to the girl’s death, she at times had noticed Allison had scratches and bruises on her, but thought them to be normal childhood injuries.6
Monday January 14, 2008
Carol Poole’s husband, Alan Poole, testified that he never saw his wife abuse Allison. He said they had been unable to conceive a child and had hoped to adopt Allison. He also testified that he was out of town on the day Allison was injured.7
Thursday January 17, 2008:
I find it really weird that there is so little coverage devoted to the Carol Poole trial. I am comparing the coverage of this trial to the coverage of the Lisa Holland and Charslie Adams-Rogers trials. Those trials were covered by The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press as well as the Lansing State Journal. During the Lisa Holland trial the Lansing State Journal even had mid-day reports on the site.
What are the differences and similarities between the three women charged with the same crimes? Lisa Holland, Charlsie Adams-Rogers, and Carol Poole were all foster parents. Holland and Adams-Rogers had been foster parents for a longer period of time and each had adopted several children they had previously fostered. Carol Poole on the other hand was new to foster parenting with Allison coming into her home in February 2006 and an addition of an infant soon after. The Holland’s and Adams-Rogers were not wealthy. However, the Poole’s are considered to live in an ‘upscale neighborhood’.
I would like to think that the reason for the sparse reporting of the trial proceedings is simply because of the recent election activity in Michigan. I am not so sure that is the reason. People have left comments on my other blog stating they were having trouble finding any kind of information about the Carol Poole trial. I would hate to think that the reason for the sparse coverage is because of the Poole’s financial standing in the community.
Friday January 18, 2008
There still is not much coverage of the Poole trial. Medical experts testified on Thursday regarding Allison’s injuries and are expected to testify next week as well. The Prosecution is getting ready to rest their case and then it will be the Defense’s turn. I hope there is more coverage of the case when the defense presents it’s case.8
Tuesday January 22, 2008
I checked this evening to see if there was any coverage of the Carol Poole trial. I expected there was no coverage on Monday because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday. However, I was surprised to see after checking 3 online Michigan newspapers - The Lansing State Journal, The Detroit News and The Detroit Free Press no coverage of today’s court proceedings. I really do not understand the lack of coverage of this case.
Wednesday January 23, 2008
First, I want to make something clear. I do not live in Michigan, I live in California. I have followed Allison’s case since it was first reported in the Michigan newspapers. I don’t just blog about cases in Michigan. It was brought to my attention through a comment that I was missing another news source to consult and that it sounded as if I did not live in Southern Michigan.
I care about justice for Allison and for other foster children who are abused and murdered in foster care.
According to the Detroit News article written by Dough Guthrie this afternoon, Carol Poole’s attorney asked that all charges be dropped against his client. He claimed the prosecution has failed to prove his client intentionally caused Allison’s death or had previously abused Allison. Judge Boykin denied the request:
“With the evidence produced at this trial, the jury could conclude another version of what happened other than what happened according to Ms. Poole,” Boykin said. “They can decide whether they believe Ms. Poole’s fourth version” of falling from the balcony.9
The case is supposed to end today with closing arguments and may go to the jury.
Thursday January 24, 2008
The case went to the jury today with the jury deliberating for the entire day without a decision. The jury of 10 women and 2 men requested photos of the Poole home, her written statement to police and 3 technical questions.10 The technical questions asked of the judge were the following:
…define “knowingly” or “intentionally” and…whether child abuse applied to the child’s injury or to Poole not getting the child prompt medical attention…11
The jury will reconvene on Monday.
The jury ruled January 28, 2008 that Carol Ann Poole is guilty of second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and first-degree child abuse surrounding the death of her foster child, Allison Newman.12
Poole’s sentencing is scheduled for February 25, 2008. She faces life in prison.
The sentencing originally scheduled for February 25 has been rescheduled for Wednesday February 27 before Wayne County Circuit Judge Ulysses W. Boykin. The Detroit News article did not indicate a reason for the delay.13
I wondered how long it would take to see an article explaining perhaps why Carol Poole’s sentencing date was changed.
An article published on todays Detroit News.com site mentions how Carol Poole wants the judge to give her a sentence that is less than the usual guidelines for second-degree murder.
Her attorney cites the following reasoning:
…The request cited her volunteer work, lack of a prior record and education…14
Also, Carol Poole is concerned that people might compare her to recently convicted Michigan murderer Steven Grant. Grant strangled his wife, cut up her body and disposed of the pieces in the nearby woods. Grant had a jury trial for the murder charge - the prosecution was seeking a first-degree murder conviction and Grant pled guilty on the charge of abuse of a corpse.
I don’t understand what the Poole defense is thinking. Carol Poole, in my opinion, should have been found guilty of first-degree-murder. She was given a reprieve and now she wants to ask the judge to take into consideration what a wonderful human being she has been throughout her lifetime.
The judge in the Grant case explained why she gave Steven Grant the sentence of 50 - 80 years:
…Druzinski far exceeded the sentencing guidelines of 15 to 25 years Thursday when she ordered Grant to spend 50 to 80 years in prison for his conviction at trial of second-degree murder and earlier guilty plea to abuse of a corpse. The sentence means the 38-year-old Grant will be 88 before he has a chance at parole.
Druzinski said the impact of the murder on the Grants’ children is largely the reason she imposed the lengthy sentence, especially because Stephen Grant courted the media, fueling the intense attention the case received beginning Valentine’s Day 2007, when he reported his wife missing.
Grant’s deception — for three weeks he maintained Tara Grant left home in a huff after a fight and he even left repeated messages on her cell phone — also influenced the sentence, the judge said.
“He actually cried, begging Tara to come home, even though he’d already murdered her,” Druzinski said…15
In today’s Detroit News article written by Doug Guthrie, he does not beat around the bush. He calls Carol Poole in the title of that article exactly what she is - “‘Killer’ seeks light sentence”. Her attorney is getting paid the big bucks to keep Carol Poole in prison for the shortest amount of time possible. What is wrong with Carol having to serve her time within the sentencing guidelines? Why should she not have to serve the 15 - 25 years to life? Carol Poole’s attorney wants the judge to take into consideration that his client only told 4 lies about how Allison was injured and finally told the truth within 24 hours. On the other hand, as quoted above, Grant took weeks to come clean with police.
I don’t know, bottom-line, both are convicted murderers, both pretty much do not want to take responsibility for their crimes. Steven Grant joked with his sister while he was in jail awaiting trial. Carol wants to claim she is so grief-stricken she cannot possibly go on with her life according to her attorney. She considers herself not-guilty of murder because what she did was just a ‘terrible accident’. Both murderers robbed family and friends of their loved ones.
Carol Poole and Steven Grant are the same - selfish murderers. Of course this is just my opinion.
Carol Ann Poole was sentenced to twenty to thirty years after being found guilty of 2nd-degree murder. She was also sentenced to ten to fifteen years after being found guilty of child abuse. Although she was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter as well as 2nd-degree murder, the involuntary manslaughter conviction was vacated.
According to a Detroit News article the sentences Poole received are harsher than that of a life sentence. If she had been sentenced to life she would have been eligible for parole after 18 years.
Carol Poole never really got it. Before she was sentenced she still insisted in her statement to the court that Allison died because of the ‘game’ they were playing which caused Allison to fall over the balcony of their home. The only thing she really sees that she did wrong was to put Allison to bed instead of taking her to the hospital.
The other thing she does not get:
“My little girl Allison lost her life and for that, I will always hold myself accountable,” she said. 16
Carol Poole was the foster mother to Allison. At the time of Allison’s death Anne Hirsh still had her parental rights and Allison was still her little girl.
Of course this is not the end of the story. Carol Ann Poole will go through her appeals process, which is her right. I wonder if she is housed in the same correctional facility as Lisa Holland and Charlsie Adams-Rogers. Lisa Holland was convicted of first-degree murder last year for the torture murder of her 7-year-old adopted son, Ricky. Charlsie Adams-Rogers was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 2-year-old foster son, Isaac Lethbridge. That would be both an ironic and fitting ending to this story.
Rest in peace Allison.
- Kevin Hill, “Foster mom faces trial for death of child,” The Journal Newspapers Online, December 14, 2006, (accessed January 06, 2008 [↩]
- Ibid. [↩]
- Ibid. [↩]
- Doug Guthrie, “Jury Selection Starts in Foster Girl’s Death,” Detroit News.com, January 07, 2008. [↩]
- ”Jury Selected in Foster Care Death,” Detroit News.com, January 8, 2008. [↩]
- Cecil Angel, “WAYNE COUNTY: Murder case jury goes on a tour,” Freep.com, January 11, 2008. [↩]
- ”Canton Twp.: No Abuse, Husband Testifies,” Detroit News.com, January 15, 2008. [↩]
- ”Slaying trial continues,” The Detroit News, January 18, 2008. [↩]
- Doug Guthrie, “Woman accused of killing foster daughter won’t have charges thrown out,” TheDetroitNews.com, January 23, 2008. [↩]
- ’Jury in child’s death case to reconvene,’ TheDetroitNews.com, January 25, 2008. [↩]
- ’Wayne County: More deliberations in child’s death,’ TheDetroitFreePress.com, January 25, 2008. [↩]
- Cecil Angel, “Canton woman found guilty in foster child’s death,” The Detroit Free Press, January 28, 2008. [↩]
- ’Canton Township Murder Sentencing Delayed for Foster Mom,’ The Detroit News.com, February 25, 2008. [↩]
- Doug Guthrie, “Killer seeks light sentence,” The Detroit news.com, February 26, 2008. [↩]
- Amber Hunt and Ben Schmitt, “Grant Pays for Kids’ Terror,” Free Press.com, February 22, 2008. [↩]
- Doug Guthrie, ‘Foster mother sentenced 20-35 years in prison for death of girl,’ The Detroit News, February 27, 2008. [↩]