Judge Charles C. Currier sentenced Steffanie Kautz to seven years, followed by two years of probation, Friday, in the death of 14-year-old Breana Bodge. Kautz pleaded no contest to the lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter and possession of a controlled substance last week.
Initially, Kautz was charged with child abuse resulting in a death of a child, a first-degree felony that could carry a sentence of life imprisonment, because the girl was in her care at the time. The teenager died without medical treatment in May 2011 as a result of a diabetic coma. Her body was found in a Kautz’s apartment.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Murphy recommended 9.5 years in prison, asking that the sentences for the two charges run consecutively. On the charges of voluntary manslaughter, the State requested a sentence of six years, with a one-year enhancement as a habitual offender, and 18 months, which also carried a one-year enhancement as a habitual offender for the drug charges.
Family members, ministers and friends spoke on Kautz’s behalf during the hearing. Rod Foster of the Apostolic Bible Church pleaded for leniency. “In the ministry, you get a lot of prisoners trying to tell you they are completely innocent; they blame everyone else. This is not the case with Steffanie. She admits she’s made mistakes. …She’s not given me some wild story that she was innocent.”
Foster recommended that Kautz join the church, where she would be subject to home visits. “My policy is to get the word of God into their lives. …I’ve had a lot of people lie to me, and I will not support Steffanie if she does that.”
Teacher Christina Marquez addressed the court. “She’s not a troublemaker. She does not blame anybody. She has three babies who love her.” She asked the court to give Kautz a chance to prove herself.
Grandmother Danny Kautz also pleaded for clemency and asked the Currier to take into consideration her granddaughter’s children.
Anna Marie Bell referred to Kautz’s addiction and recommended that her client receive treatment, although she asked for the court to suspend part or all of her sentence. “She is desperate to get back with her children. …This was a terrible tragedy. She followed Michael Bodge’s advice. There was no way for anyone, even the father, to know that (Breana’s death) would happen so quickly.”
Currier told the family in reference to the manslaughter charges: “It does involve a death, because of that the court is more constrained in leniency.”
He acknowledged Kautz’s efforts in dealing with her addiction and in finding solace in the church; however, he said, “I have had a counselor from the Detention Center tell me that a lot of people find Jesus in jail and then leave Him there.”
Currier agreed with the State on the number of years for each sentence, except he decided that the two sentences should run concurrently for a total of 7 years to be followed by 2 years of probation.