Abusive mom's sentence reduced

Date: 2000-06-24

By Theresa Myers

June 24, 2000 - GREELEY - A 47-year-old woman convicted of killing her adopted toddler son in 1996 will get out of prison four years early, a Weld County district judge ruled Friday.

Renee Polreis appeared before Judge Roger Klein June 13 and asked the judge to reduce her 22-year prison sentence for her 1997 conviction of child abuse resulting in death.

During that hearing she testified she had "lost it" one night and beat young David Polreis with a spatula handle after he reportedly spread feces all over her laundry room and himself.

Because of her clean criminal record and reported good behavior in prison, the judge agreed to reduce the prison sentence to 18 years. But he chastised Polreis for not accepting responsibility for David's death.

"The court is troubled that the defendant did not express remorse for her actions," Klein wrote in his ruling. "It is this court's conclusion that this failure to admit responsibility is not that the defendant has a criminal mind, but that the defendant is in substantial denial."

David Polreis, 2, was adopted from a Russian orphanage by Dave and Renee Polreis six months before he died. At the June 13 hearing, Renee Polreis testified David suffered from reactive attachment disorder, which caused him to exhibit violent fits of rage, urinate and defecate on care givers and sometimes injure himself.

She testified the night of his death that she had found David in her laundry room, "cramming a (spatula) up his behind." She said after she removed the spatula, David lunged at her, and she hit him an unknown number of times with the handle.

District Attorney Al Dominguez argued against the sentence reduction, agreeing that Polreis showed no remorse.

"I would have preferred it to stay at 22 years," Dominguez said Friday. Dominguez said Polreis' testimony gave little insight into what happened that night.

"It was a three hour hearing, and about 90 seconds of testimony was new," Dominguez said. "It was still the same story about what had happened to her and nothing about what had happened to poor young David." Polreis' attorney, Harvey Steinberg, asked Klein to sentence Polreis to community corrections for the remainder of her sentence. But he said he is happy with the judge's decision.

"With all the media attention this case has gotten, I was glad he reduced it at all," Steinberg said.

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