Colorado Supreme Court refuses to hear therapist’s appeal in ‘rebirthing’ death |

Colorado Supreme Court refuses to hear therapist’s appeal in ‘rebirthing’ death

DENVER ” The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider the appeal of a woman serving 16 years in prison in the death of a 10-year-old girl during a “rebirthing therapy” session.

The decision left Julie Ponder with no further recourse in the state courts after she was convicted in April 2001 of reckless child abuse resulting in death.

She was a therapist for Candace Newmaker, who died April 19, 2000, a day after the rebirthing session. The girl had been wrapped in a sheet while Ponder, another therapist and two other adults pushed against several large pillows covering the girl.

The technique was meant to simulate labor contractions, and the therapists urged her to be “reborn” to her adoptive mother, Jeane Newmaker of Durham, N.C.

The Colorado Court of Appeals in August upheld Ponder’s conviction and sentence. Her attorney had argued the trial judge should not have joined Ponder’s case with that of Evergreen therapist Connell Watkins, but the appeals court said the cases included much of the same evidence.

Watkins was convicted of the same charge as Ponder and also sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Jeane Newmaker and therapy assistants Brita St. Clair and Jack McDaniel pleaded guilty to criminally negligent child abuse resulting in death. Newmaker was sentenced to four years of probation and 400 hours of community service; St. Clair and McDaniel were sentenced to 10 years of probation.

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