35 years in soda death? A judge has sentenced an East Tennessee couple to 35 years in prison each in the death of his 5-year-old daughter after she was forced to drink grape soda as punishment.
Randall Lee Vaughn, 41, and his wife, Mary Lavonne Vaughn, 58, the girl’s stepmother, pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder and aggravated child neglect in the death of Alexa Rae Linboom.
On September 11, 2011, just four months before her death, Alexa moved to Tennessee to live with her father.
Alexa died January 3, 2012, at Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City, Tennessee, District Attorney General Dan Armstrong said.
“She was forced to drink at least 2.4 litres of liquid that include grape soda and water,” Armstrong said.
The punishment came after Alexa “took a grape soda or two and drank them without permission,” he said.
“Her brain swelled due to the liquid. The sodium in her system dropped to dangerous levels and caused her to go into convulsions, which caused her brain to quit functioning. She was brain dead before she passed.”
Alex’a mother Katie Linboom, 33, visited her daughter’s grave after the hearing.
“Right now, I’m feeling calm,” she said.
“I have some closure. I’m still … obviously I’ll never get over the murder of my daughter, but this did help me to get some closure.”