Convicted adoptive mom released on time served

Date: 2012-04-05

BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

Gloria Grayson walked out of jail Thursday a free woman.

At one point possibly facing 25 years to life in prison in the death of her adopted son, Grayson was released for time served after being sentenced Thursday to three years.

Her family was anxious to have her back home.

"She's always been a pillar of strength, and that's what's got me inspired," said niece Yvette Ward.

Ward said she couldn't wait to get outside and let out a shriek of joy. She was going to ask Grayson to bake her a lemon cake, a strawberry cake and some peach cobbler.

Grayson was charged with second-degree murder and assault on a child younger than 8 years old after Kevin King died on March 8, 2009.

The 5-year-old suffered injuries including a ruptured heart and liver, Bakersfield police reported. Grayson had admitted losing her temper while the boy was eating, grabbing him by the throat and shoving him down the hallway to the bathroom.

Last month, a jury acquitted Grayson of the charges and instead convicted her of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

King's birth mother, Kawanna Adkins, said she still believes Grayson purposely killed her son. She said it's difficult to accept the jury's decision and to know that Grayson will go free.

Adkins said she doesn't think her son is resting peacefully.

"I feel that ain't right, letting her go," she said.

Deputy Public Defender Paul Cadman said after Thursday's sentencing that King's death was an accident. Grayson was improperly charged from the beginning, and justice has finally prevailed, he said.

Prosecutor Michelle Domino said she was very disappointed in last month's verdict, but respects the work the jury put in.

In sentencing Grayson, Kern County Superior Court Judge Kenneth C. Twisselman II said there were no aggravating factors and Grayson had no prior convictions. He said the middle term of three years was appropriate in this case.

Grayson showed no reaction as Twisselman handed down the sentence. She faced him throughout the proceedings.

When Twisselman finished, Grayson shook hands with Cadman, and deputies led her out of the courtroom. The Sheriff's Department website as of 5 p.m. Thursday said she was pending release; by 8:30 p.m. it had no record of her still being in custody.

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