Deborah Mark sentenced to an additional 80 years in jail

Date: 2012-05-22

By Laurie Everett

The Mt. Juliet former pediatrician sentenced to life in prison for first degree murder of her adopted daughter last December was sentenced to an additional 80 years on eight more child abuse counts on Friday.

On Dec. 2, 2011, Deborah Mark – who lived in Mt. Juliet and was a pediatrician in Lebanon – was found guilty of first degree murder of her 4-year-old Chinese adopted daughter Kairisa.

Mark, 40 years old at the time, collapsed sobbing when the jury found her guilty not only of first degree murder of Kairisa, but also guilty on four counts of aggravated child abuse and four counts of child abuse.

According to Assistant District Attorney Tom Swink, who helped try the case, Judge David Durham sentenced Mark on the remaining counts on Friday.

"He sentenced Deborah Mark on Counts 2 through 9 in the case that was tried Nov. 28 through Dec. 2, 2011," said Swink on Monday. "In that trial a jury convicted the defendant on Count 1, felony murder."

She was sentenced to life in jail for Count 1 that day. She was also convicted on Count 2, aggravated child abuse; Count 3, aggravated child abuse; Count 4, aggravated child abuse; Count 5 aggravated child abuse; Count 6 child abuse; Count 7 child abuse; Count 8 child abuse; and Count 9 child abuse.

On Dec. 2, 2011, Mark was taken immediately to jail after the jury found her guilty after deliberating four and a half hours. Her bond was immediately revoked. At that time Durham sentenced Mark to life in the penitentiary.

After Friday's sentencing hearing for the eight remaining counts, that made the total effective sentence life "plus 80 years to serve in the state penitentiary," said Swink.

"The defendant will likely serve her sentence in the Tennessee Prison for Women, located in Nashville," said Swink.

The judge's sentence on Friday was, county by count, as follows: Count 2 through 5 aggravated child abuse, 20 years each, to serve at 100 percent, consecutive to Count 1.

Counts 6 through 9, child abuse, three years each, to serve consecutive to Count 1, but concurrent with all the other counts.

Kairisa was killed 83 days after the Marks adopted her from China. She was abnormally small for her age and during the trial Swink said during that time she was "bruised and battered."

"She was broken, " he told jurors. "And scarred. In the end at 9:30 in the evening her tiny 21 pound body was flung to the wall by the defendant [Deborah Mark]."

He told jurors that Kairisa lay on a mattress on the floor with her life slipping away and bleeding from the brain by blunt force trauma. He told them that Mark checked on her again at 7 a.m., left her to die, and went to work. Swink outlined an ongoing child abuse situation leading up to the time she was flung at the wall.

These remaining counts dealt with injuries Kairisa received with the four counts of aggravated child abuse dealing with "serious bodily injuries." These included injuries to her head and body; to her mouth; to her breasts and nipples; and to her skeletal system. The other four counts were what was characterized as "child abuse" of less severity, which were bodily injuries to the child's hands and fingers; face and eye; and thighs and back.

Deborah Mark's husband, Steven, is awaiting his trial on multiple counts of child abuse related to the death of Kairisa. The Marks gave up custody of Kairisa's sister, and at the time of Deborah Mark's sentencing for first degree murder, the little girl was in state's custody staying with a family.

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