Did Billy Bob Thornton's Daughter Really 'Kill' a Baby?

Sheri Reed

Amanda Brumfield
Amanda Brumfield
Well, the courts did find Amanda Brumfield, 32, the estranged oldest daughter of actor Billy Bob Thornton, guilty of aggravated manslaughter in the death of her best friend's 1-year-old daughter Olivia Madison Garcia in 2008. So that means Brumfield killed a baby, right? That makes her a murderer, doesn't it?

Well, manslaughter can be a very complicated verdict, so depending on the details, you might not want to throw around the words "killed" and "murdered" in a case like this. However, at the same, maybe a killing or a murder is exactly what occurred that fateful night.

What we know about the child's death is based on what Brumfield told us happened during the sleepover that night and on the analysis of the physical injuries, which caused the baby's death. Brumfield claimed Olivia tried to climb out of the playpen and fell, hitting her head on the ground. She said Olivia then ate a banana and even got her toenails painted before falling asleep on the couch.

However, the prosecution, based on the physical evidence, claimed that a fall that short a distance could not possibly have caused a three-and-a-half-inch skull fracture on the back of the head, as well as bleeding and swelling in the baby's brain. And yet, Brumfield was found NOT guilty of first-degree murder and NOT guilty of aggravated child abuse. So what does that mean? What really happened?

It probably means the jury believed that Brumfield didn't plan to kill the baby and that she probably didn't do something abusive to kill the baby. However, it does mean the prosecution proved that she recklessly caused the death of that child. It means they believe she, either by extreme neglect or an accident followed by extreme neglect, caused the death of the baby.

Early on in the case, it was revealed that Brumfield did not call the police for two and a half hours after finding the baby limp on the couch. If that was proven in court, then that could justify the verdict. That action plants many questions as to why Brumfield would wait so long to call for help. Did she panic, knowing the baby was dead? Not know what to do? Or did she know she was guilty of the injury, either by accident or neglect, and try to buy time to get a believable story together? If the baby did, indeed, fall by accident and seem okay, wouldn't your first reaction be to call 911 if she suddenly became unresponsive? Maybe. Unless you felt your own action or neglect caused the accident in the first place.

Obviously, there are a million scenarios of what may have happened that night, all of which seem to lead to some variation of extreme neglect on Brumfield's part. It's really up to you if you want to call that a murder, and her sentence will be up to the judge, come July.

Do you consider Brumfield's crime a murder?


Image via Orange County Jail

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