Parnham served as the defense lawyer in a well-known trial, he represented Andrea Yates who was convicted for drowning her five children in the bathtub in 2001. Yates was originally found guilty and received life in prison. However, the verdict was overturned in an appeal and Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Due to mental illness in Klapheke’s background, there is a chance Parnham may apply the same strategy he used for Yates trial. In a report of more than 300 pages, University of Kansas (where Klapheke was receiving therapy sessions), documented abuse and mental health issues at every stage of Klapheke’s life.
According to the report, Klapheke was only four-years-old when her maternal uncle started sexually abusing her. The abuse was not discovered until Klapheke’s biological mother abandoned Klapheke at her grandmother’s home.
While living with family, punishment involved being locked in a room with no food or drink. Other punishment included being locked out of the house in freezing temperatures without proper clothing.
By age 6, Klapheke was entered into the foster care system. Therapy sessions began at the University of Kansas as her first foster parents had second thought of adopting due to her behavioral problems, such as severe temper tantrums.
Mental health issues reported by the University of Kansas documented Klapheke having visions of a woman with no eyes standing at her bedroom window, who wanted Klapheke’s eyes for herself.
When Klapheke was nine-years-old, she was adopted by Tina Romano. Again, Klapheke was being sexually abused, by Roman’s now ex-husband.
By her teenage years, Klapheke acted out sexually. Her adoptive mother had to install an alarm on her bedroom door to keep her from leaving.
This is just some of the reports Victor Sotelo was able to find as he scanned the over 300 page report of a lifetime filled with abuse and neglect. The reports were made available after being mentioned in open court.