UPDATE, May 11:
Rebekah Kinner’s attorney says he had to agree to make her psychological evaluation public record in order to use it during her sentencing.
Kyle Rapier said as part of Kinner’s guilty plea the three charges against her were merged into one count of involuntary manslaughter and she was facing three to 11 years in prison. He said with her troubled past he was hoping to convince the judge to give her seven or eight years behind bars.
“What is in there (the evaluation) is very unorthodox. It’s typically confidential information — such as being raped, her diagnosis. That’s usually protected by HIPPA, unless we stipulate to agree to release it and we had no choice. You can’t just stand up at the podium and say ‘well, we have no mitigation’,” Rapier said.
“The mitigation was she’s got PTSD from being brutally raped when she was 13 and he attempted to kill her. I’m not a doctor, but Dr. Kurzhals’ opinion was part of the reason she failed to protect her daughter and herself is because of some of her experiences in her life,” he said.
ORIGINAL REPORT, May 10:
A newly released psychological evaluation of Rebekah Kinner reveals, in detail, her account of what happened in the weeks and days leading up to her 2-year-old daughter’s death.
The evaluation also provides the 23-year-old’s account of her boyfriend, Bradley Young’s, relationship with her and her daughter Kinsley.
Young, 26, is charged with murder in the beating death of Kinsley.
Kinner underwent the evaluation, consisting of three separate sessions, after she pleaded guilty to three charges in connection with her daughter’s death: involuntary manslaughter, permitting child abuse and endangering children.
She was sentenced last week to 11 years in prison, minus time already served, and five years probation upon her release. She had faced as much as 25 years in prison.
The night before Kinsley died, the toddler woke up “screaming and crying,” Kinner told a psychologist, according to court documents obtained by this news outlet.
It wasn’t unusual for Kinsley to have nightmares, so Kinner’s boyfriend, Bradley Young, took Kinsley into the living room to watch cartoons, her mother said. Once the toddler dozed off, Kinner said she went back to bed.
“The next thing I know I wake up and he’s just standing there holding her with the lights on,” Kinner told the psychologist. She said she noticed Kinsley’s eyes were open, but she wasn’t blinking.
“She was breathing, but it was like very, very shallow … I knew something was wrong,” Kinner said.
Young claimed Kinsley had another nightmare and woke up screaming again, Kinner said.
Less than 48 hours later, Kinsley died at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
While Butler County law enforcement officials have alleged Young beat Kinsley to death and that Kinner did nothing to stop it, she’s denied that version of events. Instead, she insisted to the psychologist, Dr. Robert Kurzhals, that she thought Young was perhaps disciplining Kinsley a bit too harshly.
Young is charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering children. He’s pleaded not guilty, and his attorneys are trying to get his case dismissed.
CLAIMS OF CONTROL
“At first he (Young) was nice and he treated me and my daughter really good and then little things would come up …” Kinner said.
Those things included not wanting her to stay at her own home and “slowly started taking control of my daughter,” she said.
Young would pick out Kinsley’s outfits, according to Kinner.
“I wasn’t allowed to pick out her outfits … I wasn’t allowed to discipline her,” Kinner said.
When Kinner would pick out an outfit for her daughter, she had to run it by Young first.
“He would say, ‘I don’t like it,’ and he would pick out something different and say, ‘This is what she’s wearing today,’ ” Kinner said.
The young mother said she thought Young was trying to help.
“He told me he always wanted a little girl and he loved her like his own and he wanted to help me,” she said, adding that Kinsley’s father “was never around.”
“When Brad started changing her clothes and picking out her outfits, part of me felt good because I felt like he was wanting to spend time with her and be a part of her life,” she said.
LOVE TURNS TO FEAR
But then Kinner said Young hurt her, too — and she was frightened of him.
Kinner told the psychologist she started dating Young in August. Soon, she said, he insisted she and Kinsley live with him.
“Brad said he didn’t know who I was hanging out with or what I was doing … to me I just thought maybe he wanted to protect me,” she said.
But she said “little things started happening.” When they had some friends over for a bonfire, Young came up behind her when she was walking to the bathroom, she said.
“(He) put his arm around my neck and held a pocket knife to my stomach and he said, ‘What would you do if I was to stab you right now’ and he started laughing,” Kinner said.
Kinner was pregnant at the time and said she didn’t think it was funny. She said he apologized and told her “it was just a joke” and “not to be so serious.”
Eventually, she said, Young took her car keys and never let her go anywhere unless he told her “to go to the store or to get cigarettes.”
“He would always call me when I was gone because he would know how long it took,” Kinner said.
Young didn’t seem angry, Kinner told the psychologist, and she thought he was checking on her to be sure she was OK.
Over time, though, Kinner said she started noticing how Young disciplined Kinsley.
He’d hit a scab on the girl’s lip, “not hard … but he would hit that when he felt like she was talking back or if she would cry,” she said.
He’d also pull down her diaper and smack her butt, Kinner said.
“I told him she was just a baby and didn’t know right from wrong and not to be so hard on her and he didn’t like that,” Kinner said, according to the psychologist’s report. “He told me he was punishing her the way his dad did him, and he said it taught him how to respect people.”
When Kinner confronted Young about it, she said, “he would pick me up by the throat and throw me on the bed and said I would just have to get over it.”
BUMPS ON KINSLEY’S BODY
Kinner said around Kinsley’s second birthday, in October, Young started holding the child above his head when she’d cry or wake up in the middle of the night. She also said he’d shake the child, yelling “stop being such a crybaby b****.”
“I would ask him to stop,” Kinner told the psychologist, “and I would feel scared, and part of me wanted to jump up and grab her out of his hands and just take off with her and just leave, but everything just goes black … my body wants to move, but I am frozen … I can’t move.”
Kinner said she also found a bump in Kinsley’s head and “little red dots on her neck,” which Young said were from a fender bender. About two days before Kinsley died, Kinner said she saw Young spank the girl and grab her face.
And the day before Kinsley died, while they were getting ready to have dinner with Kinner’s grandparents, Young hit Kinsley’s head when he was trying to get her to sit still so he could put on her shoes, Kinner said. She also noticed a “huge red spot” near Kinsley’s temple, she said.
“He told me he was washing her hair and rinsing and she freaked out and jumped forward and hit her head on the faucet,” Kinner said. “I believed him.”
Kinner claimed Young abused her, too, once punching her in the back while she was pregnant “to the extent she experienced a bloody discharge and she was subsequently placed on bed rest,” the psychologist wrote. He also punched her legs and pulled her around by the hair, she said.
And Young “had a thing with biting me,” Kinner said.
“He would just reach over and bite my arm or bite my face,” she told the psychologist. “I could be just sitting there.”
She never called the police, she said, because Young made her feel trapped.
“He told me, ‘There’s nowhere you can go or nowhere you can hide where I can’t find you. I was trained to kill in the military and I can make it look like an accident,” Kinner said.
Kinner told the psychologist she didn’t “really think it was abuse,” but she was scared.
“I kept telling myself things would change or maybe I was doing stuff to make him mad, and if I could just figure out what it was, he would stop and he would apologize and tell me he loved me or buy me whatever … I wanted or go out to eat,” she said.
THE NIGHT KINSLEY DIED
The night she found Kinsley unresponsive, Kinner said Young initially took the phone from her when she tried to call 911.
An operator tried to guide her through CPR, she said, “but I was freaking out … her lips turned blue.”
Young tried to perform CPR, she said.
“I was hoping he would be able to save her,” Kinner told the psychologist. At one point, Kinner said, Young’s roommate asked, “What the hell did you do, Brad?”
Kinsley was declared brain dead after her mother and Young were arrested. She was pronounced dead Dec. 3 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
A DOCTOR’S ANALYSIS
Kurzhals wrote that he found Kinner reluctant to admit minor flaws in herself, while “potentially exaggerating other problems.” She “consistently endorsed items that portray her in an especially negative or pathological manner,” he wrote.
“Such test results often reflect a ‘cry for help,’ ” he added. Still, Kurzhals wrote he can’t be certain that’s an accurate picture of her status. He did find, however, that she’s likely suffering from major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and maladaptive personality traits, and he recommended she get treatment in prison.
“Her prognosis is considered to be guarded,” he wrote.
This article also contains reporting by our news partner WCPO 9 On Your Side.
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