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Early parole hearing for woman in grape soda child killing

ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Six months after getting a 35-year sentence for killing her stepdaughter by forcing her to drink grape soda, a Tennessee prisoner is scheduled for an early parole hearing that could nearly cut her sentence in half.

The hearing in Nashville will determine whether 58-year-old Mary Vaughn will receive parole on her 15-year sentence for aggravated child abuse. If granted, she could begin serving her 20-year sentence for second-degree murder immediately.

Third Judicial District Attorney General Dan Armstrong told the Kingsport Times-News (http://bit.ly/1AL3fRf ) he will vehemently oppose parole for Vaughn during the June 15 hearing.

“In my opinion, such an early parole hearing is not likely to meet with success, but we’re not taking any chances,” Armstrong said. “We’re going to express our outright opposition to it.”

Vaughn and her husband, 42-year-old Randall Vaughn, pleaded guilty last December in the death of 5-year-old Alexa Linboom. Prosecutors say the couple forced Linboom to drink grape soda as a punishment, killing her in January 2012.

Her husband was also sentenced to 35 years in prison. No parole hearing has been scheduled for Randall Vaughn, however.

An autopsy showed the girl drank about 2.4 liters of liquid over a one-to-two hour span.

The Vaughns have been incarcerated since their February 2014 indictment.

Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jeff Greer, who was lead detective in the Linboom case, said having the parole hearing so soon after the case bothers him.

“I don’t think (parole) would be fair to Alexa,” Greer said. “She doesn’t have a chance to come back or to have her sentence — if you want to call it that — shortened. That’s what the court gave them. That’s what they need to serve.”

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Information from: Kingsport Times-News, http://www.timesnews.net

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