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Wis. mom might benefit from 1957 parole rules

  • Article by: DINESH RAMDE
  • Associated Press
  • August 16, 2013 - 5:15 PM

MILWAUKEE — A Sheboygan woman who killed her baby more than 50 years ago could be paroled two years sooner than prosecutors initially thought, because her case is governed by the less strict parole rules of 1957.

Ruby Klokow, 77, pleaded no contest in February to second-degree murder following the death of her 6-month-old daughter in 1957. The death was initially ruled accidental but the case was reopened in 2008 after Klokow's adult son came forward with allegations of horrific child abuse.

Klokow was sentenced in May to 10 years in prison. At the time, district attorney Joe DeCecco thought she'd be eligible for parole after 2½ years because inmates generally become eligible after serving a quarter of their terms.

But it turns out she's actually eligible for parole after six months, DeCecco said Friday.

"I had no idea. It was a shock to us," DeCecco told The Associated Press. He said the state Department of Corrections researched the old laws and determined her parole eligibility date.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman did not immediately return a message Friday. Neither did Kirk Obear, Klokow's defense attorney.

Klokow's parole hearing is expected to take place sometime next month.

An initial autopsy of the victim found that 6-month-old Jeaneen Klokow suffered two brain hemorrhages, a partially collapsed lung and three scalp bruises. However, the death was ruled accidental. After the case was reopened Ruby Klokow acknowledged to investigators that she threw Jeaneen roughly on the couch, causing her to bounce to the floor.

Her son, James Klokow, also told police his mother terrorized him and his siblings when they were young. He said she often beat and choked him and kicked him with steel-toed boots. He also said his mother once broke his arm and nose, and he described how she once covered the head of his mentally challenged younger brother and struck the wailing boy's toes one by one with a hammer.

Obear argued in May that those events either never happened or that Klokow's now-dead husband was the actual abuser.

DeCecco said Klokow's failure to show remorse or take responsibility might work against her in the parole hearing. While he expects that she'll be paroled eventually because of her age and frailty, he said she deserved to spend more than just a few months behind bars.

"Even a year in a prison setting would be better than just six months," he said.

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