Mom of 15-year-old boy who died fasting sentenced to three years in prison, three on probation
BARABOO, Wis. — Titilayno Omosebi, the mother of a 15-year-old boy who died while fasting last September, was sentenced to three years in prison and three years probation.
Omosebi’s husband, Kehinde Omosebi, is also facing charges and is going through the court system.
Kehinde Omosebi reported his son’s death to Reedsburg police. When police entered the Omosebi’s home, they found their 15-year-old son “extremely emaciated” and dead. They also found the couple’s 11-year-old son in similarly thin and weak condition but still alive. The brother of the boy who died had handwritten a letter addressed to the “Lawyers of Sauk County,” saying, “If I don’t get food now, I’ll probably die of hunger.” Titilayno Omosebi was found emaciated as well, but refused medial treatment for religious reasons. Police also reported they found an empty fridge, no home decorations and four metal chairs all facing each other in a room.
Kehinde Omosebi described himself to police as a religious minister affiliated with Cornerstone Reformation Ministries, but police have found no record indicating this is true.
Their surviving son was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment and is now in the care of a foster family. All other members of Omosebi’s family are in Nigeria.
Omosebi’s attorney, Michael Covey, said he has made contact with multiple family members who are “shocked by what happened”
Titilayno Omosebi got emotional as she read a statement in court. She was soft spoken, but said this was a tragic event that’s caused her a lot of trauma. She said she made a terrible mistake and she loves her children, that her family belongs together and now they are nothing and that what she did was wrong.
The mother of the 15-year-old Reedsburg boy who died during a fast in September has been sentenced to six years in the prison system; three years initial confinement, and three years probation. #news3now pic.twitter.com/tHdHADi9PX
— Jamie Perez (@JamiePerezTV) April 11, 2019
Sauk County Judge Wendy Klicko said to the courtroom: “The court does not in any way doubt Mrs. Omosebi’s remorse. The court in no way doubts the apology she’s given here today. I do believe it is true. I do believe it is heartfelt. The fact that the defendant’s older son died as a consequence of her behavior is as serious as it gets to the court.”
Covey had asked the judge for probation only with no time in prison, saying Omosebi did not have a criminal intent, has no prior criminal history, was a victim herself, as she also participated in the fast, and that cultural differences played a role. Covey added Omosebi would have a difficult time in jail considering her mindset, the repercussions from other inmates and her lack of ill intentions. Covey also stated Omosebi needed counseling and that prison would not provide her the rehabilitative services she required. He went on to discuss how Omosebi was submissive to her husband and was not the one who made the decisions in their home. However, Klicko said she was capable of making decisions when it came to her job and asking for a promotion and was capable of making a different decison in this situation as well.
“I’m grateful that the judge considered all the arguments,” Covey said. “I still believe she should not be going to prison. I know it’s an absolutely tragic case and the death of a child is so serious, but her remorse, the tragic circumstances that Titilayno exhibited, I would have hoped that she got probation.”
The judge said that prison time was needed for a case like this and had authorities not stepped in when they did, things could have been worse.
“In a somewhat ironic way, the death of the older brother saved his younger brother’s life. And as pointed out here today, it most likely saved the defendant’s life,” Klicko said.
Omosebi’s surviving son’s foster family told Covey that he has forgiven his mother but hasn’t forgotten the trauma he experienced.
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