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Christine Laverne Falling (born March 12, 1963) is an American criminal. She pleaded guilty in 1982 for the murders of three children she was babysitting between 1980 and 1982. She admitted to three other murders for which she was not prosecuted.
Falling was born in Perry, Florida; at the time of her birth her father was 65 years old and her mother was 16.
She was obese and described as "dim-witted." From an early age she required medication to control her epileptic seizures.
As a child, to test whether cats had nine lives, she would strangle them and drop them from great heights. When she was nine, she and her older sister were removed from their home after domestic disputes between their parents resulted in police involvement. Their time in foster care lasted a year.
In September 1977, 14-year-old Falling married a man in his twenties. The brief relationship was marked by violence on both sides. When the marriage failed, she became an acute hypochondriac averaging one trip to the hospital every two weeks for the next two years. She complained of ailments ranging from "red spots" to vaginal bleeding and "snakebite," but physicians rarely found any treatable symptoms.
Unable to find work, Falling picked up spending money by babysitting for neighbors and relatives. On February 25, 1980, one of her charges -- two-year-old Cassidy Johnson -- was rushed to a doctor's office in Blountstown, Florida. The girl died on February 28. An autopsy listing cause of death as blunt trauma to the skull. Falling told physicians that Cassidy "passed out" and fell from her crib, but the doctors were skeptical. One physician wrote a note to the police, advising them of his suspicions, but the lead was not followed and the case was closed.
Falling moved to Lakeland, and shortly after she began watching children, four-year-old Jeffrey Davis "stopped breathing" in her care. An autopsy revealed symptoms of myocarditis, a heart inflammation rarely fatal by itself. While the family attended Jeffrey's funeral, Falling watched the boy's two-year-old cousin, who died in his crib that afternoon while napping. Pathologists noted evidence of a viral infection, suggesting it may have killed Jeffrey, as well.
Falling returned to the Blountstown area in July 1981, and began working as a housekeeper. On her first day on the job, 77-year-old William Swindle died in his kitchen. Later that month she accompanied her stepsister to a pediatrician's office, where her eight-month-old niece named Jennifer Daniels received some standard childhood vaccinations. The stepsister left Falling in the car with her child while she ran into a market, only to return and find her daughter had "simply stopped breathing." Police simply considered Falling to be suffering from a run of bad luck .
On July 2, 1982, 10-week-old Travis Coleman died in Falling's care. An autopsy revealed internal ruptures caused by suffocation, and Falling was interrogated. In custody, she confessed to killing three of the children by means of "smotheration," pressing a blanket over their faces in response to disembodied voices chanting, "Kill the baby" .
"The way I done it, I seen it done on TV shows," she explained. "I had my own way, though. Simple and easy. No one would hear them scream."
Convicted on the basis of her own confession, she was given three concurrent life sentences for strangling or suffocating Cassidy Johnson, Jennifer Daniels and Travis Coleman. Her first chance for parole will be in December 2006.
In exchange for the guilty plea, the state agreed not to prosecute her in the 1981 deaths of the two Lakeland cousins she had been hired to look after or in the January 1982 death of Swindle.
On March 15th, 2006, Florida State Attorney Steve Meadows announced that Falling was denied parole consideration, due to the heinous nature of her crimes. The Florida Parole Commission set a presumptive parole date of 2252, and said that Falling may seek review of that date in five years (2011).
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Christine_Falling". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|