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Doctor, Nurse-Wife Sentenced to 65 Years Each in Abuse Death Of Girl, 5

October 11, 1991

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) _ A surgeon and his wife, a former pediatrics nurse, each received 65-year prison terms today for the murder and neglect of his 5-year-old daughter.

Dr. Gary D. Shipley and Gloria Anne Shipley, both 35, were convicted Aug. 21 of the November 1990 death of Amy, his 5-year-old daughter by a previous marriage.

Autopsy reports showed the child was malnourished and dehydrated when she choked and died after vomiting a milk formula laced with black pepper.

″I didn’t see any remorse over her death from either of you. I see remorse for the situation you’re in,″ Lake Superior Court Judge James Letsinger told the Shipleys.

Before the sentence was handed down, however, Mrs. Shipley maintained her innocence.

″I know in my heart that I didn’t kill Amy and I didn’t do anything I believe caused harm to her,″ Mrs. Shipley said in a shaky voice before her sentencing.

The judge sentenced the couple to consecutive sentences of 50 years for murder and 15 for neglect. Prosecutors had asked for the maximum penalties on both charges, which would have totaled 80 years.

Defense Attorney Nick Thiros had argued against a lengthy sentence, saying it would be ″tantamount to the death sentence.″

The Shipleys took the witness stand during their 13-day trial and denied intending to harm Amy. Both said they did not withhold food or fluids from the child, although they conceded autopsy photographs indicated malnutrition and dehydration.

They claimed Amy choked to death on a piece of toast.

Shipley was placed on 20-year probation in 1990 by the Indiana Medical Licensing Board because of allegations he improperly prescribed medication for family members.

Mrs. Shipley’s nursing license was pulled after she failed to complete a drug rehabilitation program, state officials said. During the trial, she said she become dependent on painkillers after surgery in the mid-1980s.

Prosecutors presented evidence intended to show a pattern of abuse in the Shipley household. After the couple moved from Indianapolis to Vincennes in 1988, a Knox County grand jury was convened when a teacher reported Shipley’s oldest daughter, 8-year-old Danielle, had been abused. No indictment was returned.

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