Prosecutor Pulls Plea Deal In Toddler's Death

Mom Didn't Meet Requirements, Could Face Trial, Prosecutor Says

A central Indiana woman who had faced a maximum of eight years in prison in connection with the neglect death of her 2-year-old girl could stand trial on murder and other charges now that a prosecutor has withdrawn a plea agreement.

Clinton County Prosecutor Tony Sommer told the Lafayette Journal & Courier he withdrew the deal for Patience Kuhlman, 31, of Frankfort, because she hasn't met all of its requirements.

Kuhlman had pleaded guilty in January to neglect of a dependent causing serious bodily injury for her involvement in the 2009 death of Keaton Kuhlman. Her boyfriend, Mitchell Clendenning, also pleaded guilty to a neglect charge and faces up to 35 years in prison.

Kuhlman's attorney, Brad Mohler, said the defense will negotiate a new deal or prepare for trial.

Keaton Kuhlman died at an Indianapolis hospital after suffering blunt force trauma. Police said Clendenning originally told investigators that the girl fell down some stairs, but doctors determined her injuries were inconsistent with a fall.

The girl also had a history of bruises that had been explained by falls in the past, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Clendenning, who was not the girl's father, told police he was intoxicated the night that the injuries took place.

Witnesses also told police they heard yelling coming from the home.