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Bail Revoked For Mother Charged In Connection With Death of her Toddler

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BROCKTON – The Whitman mother who was indicted on charges in connection with the death of her two year-old daughter has had her bail revoked for violating an express condition of her release, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz has announced.

Yesterday, the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office sought and obtained a probation warrant charging that Shaniqua Leonard, 29, violated an express condition of her release, namely that she abide by the laws of the Commonwealth. On August 29, Leonard threated to “slaughter” her neighbors in Whitman, in an unprovoked confrontation that was captured via audio and video, by a home security system. Leonard will be summonsed to Brockton District Court to answer on the new charges at a later date.

Yesterday, State Police went to arrest Leonard on the probation warrant in Roxbury where her GPS monitoring bracelet indicated her location, but before police arrived, Leonard had cut her GPS monitor off. As a result of Leonard’s actions, the Commonwealth expended considerable time and resources, which included the efforts of Massachusetts State Police, Whitman Police and Boston Police, in an attempt to locate Leonard. This morning, Leonard turned herself into the probation department in Brockton Superior Court.

At a hearing today, the Commonwealth moved to revoke Leonard’s cash bail of $25,000 for a violation of the conditions of her release and asked that the bail be forfeited. Brockton Superior Court Judge Maynard Kirpalani allowed the Commonwealth’s motion to revoke bail and took the request to forfeit under advisement. Leonard was taken into custody and will be held without bail for 90 days.  

On August 18th, Leonard was arraigned in Superior Court on indictments charging her with Manslaughter and Reckless Endangerment of a Child in the death of her 2 year-old daughter, Lyric Farrell. The charges reflect information obtained during an investigation after the 2 year-old victim was found unresponsive on December 28, 2019. On that day, shortly after midnight, Whitman Police received a 911 call from Leonard that her two-year-old daughter was unresponsive at 863 Washington Street #3 in Whitman. Whitman Police and Fire responded and transported the toddler to Brockton Hospital. The child was later medflighted to Children’s Hospital after a subdural hematoma was found on her brain, and on December 31, 2019, at approximately 3 p.m., she was taken off of life support. 

The charges allege that the 2 year-old was demonstrating signs of medical distress and was in need of immediate medical attention and that Leonard failed to obtain. An autopsy by the Office of the State Medical Examiner found that the child died as a result of complications from blunt force trauma head injuries. Farrell was observed to have a subdural hematoma, subarachnoid hematoma and hemorrhaging of her optic nerve and retina. Doctors indicated that the injuries could not have been caused as Ms. Leonard claimed to investigators; by the child banging her own head.

 At the August Superior Court arraignment, the Commonwealth requested that Leonard be held on $100,000 cash bail with conditions. Brockton Superior Court Judge Kirpalani set bail at $25,000. At the hearing today, Leonard’s attorney confirmed that her $25,000 cash bail was posted by The National Council For Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. At that time, Leonard was released with the conditions that she wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, have no contact with her other children, abstain from drug and alcohol use, undergo mental health screenings and not carry a firearm.

“It is becoming crystal clear that these bail funds serve no purpose other than to free criminals to commit more crimes, with no regard for public safety, and absolutely no compassion for the victims,” DA Cruz said.

Leonard is next scheduled to appear in court at 2 p.m. on September 22 in Plymouth Superior Court.

Assistant District Attorney Jessica Kenny is handling the case, which was investigated by Massachusetts State Police and Whitman Police.

September 1, 2020