The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 8, 2013

Judge assesses life sentence for father’s girlfriend in toddler’s death

From staff reports

MIAMI, Okla. — A judge sentenced Skye Reece to life in prison today for the death one year ago of 17-month-old Lanceton Hollenbeck but granted her the possibility of parole.

A jury convicted the 21-year-old Quapaw woman in December of first-degree murder in the death of the boy, who was the son of her former boyfriend, Ryan Nowlin, and recommended that she receive a life term with the possibility of parole.

District Judge Robert Haney took note of the relative youth of the defendant and her lack of a criminal history. He also expressed regret that her imprisonment will impact a 1-year-old son she has in common with Nowlin. But the case is even more tragic for the child who lost his life, the judge said before upholding the jury’s recommendation.

Reece claimed the boy fell off his small bed in the apartment they shared with his father and the son they have in common. An autopsy found his cause of death to be cranial and cerebral injuries from blunt-force trauma, with a large fracture on the left side of the skull and smaller, branching fractures.