One 5-year-old West Valley girl will never walk or run or play again. She can't talk. She can't laugh. She can't even eat; her food is funneled to her through an intravenous tube.
Part of her brain has been removed. She could die at any moment.The courts say this child is a victim of child abuse. Her 33-year-old step-grandmother says it was only a series of accidents - accidents for which she shouldn't have to serve three more years in prison.
The Board of Pardons disagreed, ordering Toni Carol Baisy to appear before the board again in May 1991 before they will consider a parole date. Baisy is serving a maximum five-year sentence for felony child abuse.
"We don't dare let you out," the board told Baisy. "You are obviously a threat to children."
At that point, Baisy broke into tears, saying she loved her granddaughter and would never do anything to hurt her. She loves children so much, Baisy said, she has tried two operations to be able to have children herself.
"I want kids so bad," she said.
Baisy is also accused of forcing the child to put her hands in water so hot it caused second-degree burns, which required skin grafts. Also, before the incident that led to criminal charges, the child had been taken to the hospital to receive numerous stitches for a large cut on her forehead.
"I didn't know the water was that hot," she said. And the stitches were the result of the child tripping over a puppy and hitting her head on a bed post. "They were accidents," she said.
The morning after the child received stitches, Baisy said the child had trouble breathing and fell over backward. Baisy began shaking the child to get her to wake up. "I didn't realize I was hitting her head on the floor," she said.
"She'll be a vegetable the rest of her life," said James Baisy, the victim's grandfather, "but I don't believe Toni did anything to hurt her."
But the board pointed to several inconsistencies in Baisy's story. She told one official that she shook the child "to make her understand," and that the child's burned hands were no accident. They noted other incidents of violence toward children, including a 1982 arrest for child abuse.