The mother and step-father of Kaylina Anderson entered guilty pleas for second-degree murder in the teen’s death, preceding a preliminary hearing on Jan. 9 at the Riverside County Superior Courthouse’s Larson Justice Center in Indio, Calif.
Anderson was found dead in her bedroom in March 2018 by Blythe station deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Anderson’s mother, 37-year-old Jill Liane Williams, and step-father, 41-year-old Steven Brack Williams, stood accused of two charged felony counts related to Anderson’s death, including alleged violations of Penal Code (PC) section 187, subdivision (a), murder; and PC section 368, subdivision (b), subsection (1), willful causing of pain or suffering of dependent adult.
As part of the pair’s plea, the latter charge – as well as two misdemeanor counts of PC M273a(b), abuse/child endangerment – were dismissed.
“We, Kaylina’s family, are thankful that the defendants plead guilty to a lesser charge of second degree murder, 15 years to life with the possibility of parole. We didn’t need to view or listen to testimony regarding what they did to Kaylina. We wanted closure. They have to live with what they did to Kaylina,” stated Anderson’s grandmother Jeanne Anderson to the Times, who was one of four relatives to submit victim impact statements to the court.
Anderson, 18, suffered from severe mental disabilities requiring full-time care and supervision.
On March 10, 2018, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigators responded to an “unattended death” at the 18000 block of Palowalla Drive, finding Anderson in “diminished physical appearance and substandard living conditions” at the Mesa Verde home, just west of Blythe.
A reported three minors — all 6-years of age or under — were removed from the residence by responding Riverside County Child Protective Services (CPS).
Previously subpoenaed Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) records — noted as approximately 1,000 pages in length — remained under protective order over the duration the case’s hearings.
The Williams’ were credited with 667 days time served.
The defendants did not make a statement to the court.
“A mother’s love is supposed to be unconditional. I would like to know what’s more important than taking care of a child. Kaylina was a beautiful young woman who was autistic and couldn’t verbally communicate with us, but if she wanted something she knew how to get it by showing us her way. I will always cherish all the times we had birthday parties at my house for Kaylina and our children,” stated Anderson’s cousin Martha Jones’ victim impact statement.
“As I sit here and try to understand why this happened to a beautiful young lady, I’ll never truly comprehend the reason for it. Kaylina’s death was an unimaginable loss for our family. The thought of us not seeing Kaylina anymore is an unimaginable pain that I truly hope no other family has to go through. Hopefully we can start to get some closure for our family. Although we will never truly get justice for Kaylina, hopefully we can start the healing process. I love you, Kaylina. And (you) will never be forgotten.”