SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Bobbi Widdison claims her punishment exceeded the crime.
But it could have been much longer
In 1996, she was charged and eventually convicted of child abuse homicide. Her daughter suffered extreme abuse at the hands of her mother and husband Travis Widdison. He was convicted of child abuse.
Despite what happened to Breanna, Widdison said she loved her daughter.
“I absolutely loved that child I don’t want to really go into it a lot about those circumstances,” Widdison told ABC4. “I’ve dealt with that for the past 23 years.”
But the baby’s injuries were extreme. Medical records showed fractures to her arms and legs. Medical authorities said someone had forcibly grabbed the baby’s arms and twisted them.
“For me to be a productive citizen of society, whether it’s in the penitentiary or out here, I had to move past that and understand why the things that happened,” Widdison said. “It doesn’t diminish my love for her by any means.”
She ended up serving 21 years in prison for the murder. But she was staring at spending the rest of her life there.
In 2011, the Board of Pardons determined she’d served her sentence and gave her a 2018 parole date.
Over the next three years, she was counting down the days for her release.
But when she went before the parole board again in 2014, a witness came forward with damaging allegations against Widdison.
After that, the board set a new date: 2118, basically she’d die in prison.
“I felt hopeless,” said Widdison. “There wasn’t anything to wake up to or live for anymore. I was looking at up to life in the penitentiary after making preparations for trying to prepare for 20 years with my family.”
But Widdison was released from prison last March.
This after her attorney filed what’s called a writ asking the supreme court to decide if the board overstepped its authority.
The justices said the case may be moot because Widdison has now been released from prison.
Her attorney still wants the court to rule and hopes they’ll send a message to the board of pardons.
“(Inmates) don’t have any recourse,” she said. “There isn’t any appeal process with the board of pardons. The decisions that they give us are the decisions we have to live with.”
The supreme court took the case under advisement and it could be several months before the issue a decision.
MORE THE JUSTICE FILES:
- The Justice Files: Former school teacher seeks release from prison
- The Justice File: Who killed Mona ‘Heather’ Ulibarri? Part 2
- The Justice Files: Who murdered Mona ‘Heather’ Ulibarri?
- The Justice Files: Remembering Brylee
- The Justice Files: Ron Druce, where are you?