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40-year sentence for child killer



 

RAPID CITY – Katrina Pauline Shangreaux was brought into the empty federal courtroom in shackles ten minutes prior to her 2 p.m. sentencing hearing for 2nd degree murder. As she prepared for what was about to take place, the tears began to flow as she sobbed in the echoing courtroom.

Nearly forty family members and friends of Kylen Shangreaux were present in the courtroom, while his mother had 8 family members present.

Shangreaux earlier this year accepted a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder for the death of 2-year old Kylen Shangreaux. The murder took place fifty-eight days after Kylen was placed back in the custody of his mother following a custody battle in the Oglala Sioux Tribe family court system.

The first to testify during the sentencing hearing was Special Agent Mark Lucas of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to statements made in court, a call to 911 was placed by Katrina Shangreaux at 7:37 a.m. in which she claimed Kylen was not breathing and that he had been “choking on apple juice.” Special Agent Lucas testified that the 911 dispatcher had instructed Katrina and her mother Sonia Dubray to perform CPR on Kylen, but they had “not actually been doing CPR because Kylen had been dead.”

Tribal law enforcement had arrived, followed by an ambulance shortly thereafter. Kylen was pronounced dead, officially, at 8:30 a.m. At this time, the toddler’s body temperature was 90 degrees and the coroner had determined Kylen had been deceased for four hours prior to him being taken to the IHS hospital in Pine Ridge that morning.

A BIA officer had noted that the use cleaning supplies had been detected on the crime scene. The officer noted the smell of bleach in the home. Special Agent Lucas had testified during the sentencing hearing that the crime scene had been modified by both Katrina Shangreaux and her mother Sonia Dubray.

An autopsy was done on the badly beaten body of Kylen within 24-hours of being taken to the Pine Ridge IHS hospital. It was determined that the toddler had bruising on 70 percent of his body and U.S. Attorney Collins had stated the toddler had 111 separate injuries to his body; including bite marks, cigarette burns (referred to as “thermal injuries”), injuries caused by a studded belt, and defensive wounds on the back of his hands. Kylen tried to protect himself during the beating.

During the emotional victim’s impact statements and those made in support of a lighter sentence by her family, the courtroom sat quietly awaiting the statements made by both sides. First to speak was Faron Apple, who shared words about the impact that reservation life had on the convicted mother. Apple insisted that Katrina Shangreax was a good person and pleaded with the court to take into account the Lakota value system of forgiveness for persons who make mistakes.

“Our history teaches us to be forgiving… My cousin got caught up with the wrong people,” said Apple. “She has a family who loves her.”

Followed by Apple was Ginger Richards who spoke about the intimate conversations she had with Katrina Shangreaux regarding the depression she said she suffered following the birth of her youngest children. “There was a couple of times that her usage (drug use) got out of control because of her depression – post-partum depression,” said Richards. “I should’ve let somebody know how depressed she was.” Richards left the courtroom podium in tears and had to be consoled when she returned to her seat.

Next to come to the stand was Kristina Dubray who approached the podium in tears and could only mutter the words, “I’m sorry to everyone” before being too emotional to continue her statement. She leaned on the podium for support as she stood there to plead to the court for leniency.

Lastly to speak from the defense in the supporting statements, was Katrina Shangreaux. “I’m sorry for what happened. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my son,” she said. “I have three other sons and a daughter that I lost too.”  This was in reference to having to spend the next 16-40 years in prison which she was being faced with, at that point. He attorney was asking for 200 months in federal prison while the United States was asking for 405 months. “It was just one day that went wrong. My greatest punishment will be living without my son. I abuse myself every day.”

The judge made reference to the letter provided to the court by Katrina Shangreaux during the proceedings and he had found the letter to be “very disturbing” when Shangreaux was explaining her actions on the morning of the murder.

Following the supporting statements made by Katrina’s family, the paternal side of Kylen’s family was next to speak. The grandmother of Kylen Shangreaux walked up to the podium with a prepared statement in hand. She had the dignity of grandmother and the pain of an anger which only a victim can convey. See her statement in the sidebar article attached for her full statement.

Richard “Rick” Shangreaux was the “papa” whom Kylen was excited to see. The bond and relationship the two had come across in court statements. This was a healthy relationship and it came across when Mr. Shangreaux spoke. The grandfather does not believe the whole truth has been shared with the court. “I pray she gets what she deserves,” he said. “I don’t believe she shared the whole truth.”

Angela Shangreaux closed out the statements, she is the paternal aunt who had temporary custody and was considered by Kylen to be his “mom” by the toddler. The anticipation in the courtroom was intense as Angela prepared to make her statement. She has been very active in getting justice for Kylen and has begun a social media campaign called “Justice for Kylen” which would change some laws on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to protect children and families.

“When Kylen was in my care, he had his own bed, but most nights he would sleep with us,” she said. Her husband an advocate had to approach Angela Shangreaux at the podium as the moment was overwhelmingly difficult. “I loved him so much. So much.”

Looking towards the judge, the paternal aunt said, “You’re the last person that can give Kylen the justice he deserves.”

Despite the pleas from her supporters, Katrina Shangreaux was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison and was ordered to pay Patty Shangreaux $1500 for funeral expenses for her grandson.

 

 

 

(Contact Native Sun News Today Correspondent Richie Richards at richie4175@gmail.com)

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