Garret “Kirby” LaFromboise was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for his role in the death of his 11-month-old son Kaidynce Small on Oct. 21.
The sentence was handed down by Judge Brian Morris in federal district court in Great Falls late this morning after a hearing in which sobbing members of the victim’s family asked Morris to send LaFromboise away for life.
During the emotional hearing, LaFromboise choked up as he apologized for the death.
Before imposing sentence, Morris told LaFromboise he had to accept responsibility for his actions.
“The most important role of a father is to protect his child,” Morris said.
After serving his sentence, LaFromboise will be on supervised probation for four years.
LaFromboise and his girlfriend Cecelia Rose Gardipee, both of Rocky Boy, were each charged with second-degree murder or aiding and abetting in that murder and with assault or aiding and abetting in the assault of Kaidynce.
LaFromboise pleaded guilty to assault Jan. 21 in a deal that includes dismissing the murder charge and his helping the government in its case against Gardipee.
The sentencing requests, filed with federal court before the hearing,
LaFromboise ranged from his mother asking for probation to the mother of the child and her family asking for life in prison.
The prosecution asked for a minimum of 10 years, and said it might call as witness a fellow inmate of Guardipee.
The inmate would testify that “Gardipee told Jane Doe that (the victim) was intentionally killed by both she and LaFromboise in order for LaFromboise to prove his loyalty to and love for Gardipee,” prosecutors said in legal papers.
The defendant’s mother, Laranda LaFromboise, said her son became addicted to drugs and alcohol and was using alcohol the night the child died. She asked for a period of probation with drug treatment.
“He is a good person who deserves a chance and I humbly ask that you give him the opportunity to get his life back on track and not let a bad decision alter his life’s direction,” she wrote in a letter to Morris.
The child’s mother, Jasmine Small, wrote in a letter to Morris that Kaidynce’s murder has devastated her.
“Nobody ever has the right to take a life,” she wrote. “Why shouldn’t they be imprisoned for life for what they did?”
The medical examiner wrote in his report that he could not determine the precise cause of death, but Kaidynce’s injuries included skull fractures, rib fractures, bruising on his lips, bruising on his face and torso, cuts on his fingertips and bleeding and bruising on his brain and spinal nerves.
Kirby LaFromboise pleaded guilty to becoming frustrated that night because the child would not stop crying and to sticking his fingers down the toddler’s throat and striking him in the abdomen.
His defense wrote that while he admitted to hurting his son, it was not his actions that caused the child’s death.
“But it must be stressed that the actions of Mr. LaFromboise hitting him in the stomach and putting his fingers down the baby’s throat is not even close to resulting in the death of that poor baby,” the memorandum reads.
The toddler was in the care of Lafromboise and Gardipee that night in a custody arrangement with Small.
Court documents relate that Small and Lafromboise had a relationship, resulting in the birth of Kaidynce, while Lafromboise and Gardipee, who have two daughters together, were broken up.
By the time Kaidynce was born, LaFromboise and Gardipee were back together. A paternity test showed that Lafromboise was the father, and a custody agreement allowed him to care for the child.
In the letter to Judge Morris, Small wrote that LaFromboise “ignored” the child until the paternity test showed he was the father.
In her letter, LaFromboise’s mother, wrote that he told her he avoided trying to see his son because Small and her family “hate me so much.”
Small and Gardipee were jealous over each other’s relationship with LaFromboise, his mother wrote,
In the sentencing memorandum filed before the hearing, LaFromboise’s attorney argued that his client has accepted responsibility for his actions and recommended a maximum sentence of 120 months, noting that a sentence consistent with other sentences for the charge would be 33-40 months.
“The acts by Mr. LaFromboise were clearly out of character,” the brief reads. “He will forever lament the day he lost his son. He will forever lament the day that he allowed someone to gravely hurt his son. While the Government is correct that his action and inaction has left a mother childless, it has also left Mr. LaFromboise without a son and his own grandparents with one less grandchild.”
But the prosecution wrote that to protect the public — including LaFromboise and Gardipee’s daughter — at least 10 years is warranted.
“The brutal attack on (Kaidynce) was provoked because LaFromboise could not comfort his own crying son … ,” the memorandum reads. “Instead of showing compassion to a crying baby, LaFromboise and Gardipee, who were fueled by alcohol, became angry. LaFromboise lost all ability to control his own actions and the situation. the violence spiraled out of control.”