Commonwealth v. Kathleen Susann Ganiere; Maximum Sentence Given in Death of Infant Foster Child

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Kathleen Susann Ganiere, 30 years old, who previously resided in the 5300 block of Glenville Circle in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced today by Circuit Court Judge Patricia L. West for Voluntary Manslaughter.  Judge West sentenced Ganiere to ten (10) years in the Department of Corrections, the maximum sentence for Voluntary Manslaughter.   The State Sentencing Guidelines had suggested Ganiere be sentenced only to a term of probation, with no term of active incarceration. Ganiere pled guilty on June 1, 2011.                    


“I don’t need an expert to tell me what happened to this child,” Judge West said before pronouncing her sentence.  “It was selfish, and it didn’t have to happen.”


Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth’s evidence would have proved that Kathleen Ganiere killed her 10-month-old foster son, Braxton Taylor.  Braxton was placed in foster care on April 10, 2009, three days after birth.  He was a healthy baby when Kathleen Ganiere and her husband became Braxton’s second set of foster parents in November 2009.  Ganiere’s husband was able to stay home with Braxton and care for him through January 4, 2010, when he returned to working where he would travel occasionally. 


Ganiere was the sole caretaker for Braxton from January 31st through February 5, 2010 when her husband travelled to California.  Before he left, Braxton was able to sit up, crawl, smile, engage people with his eyes, and reach for things.  When Ganiere’s husband returned, he noticed that Braxton could no longer sit up or focus his eyes on things.  Braxton had a blank stare and would shake for two to three hours at a time.  Finally on February 6, 2010, Braxton was rushed to the hospital because he stopped breathing.  He weighed less when admitted to the hospital at age ten months than he did at his six month check-up.  Braxton’s injuries when admitted to the hospital included cauliflower ear, a bruised groin, crushed testicles, and a subdural hematoma.  His brain was swollen and filled with blood as a result of being shaken, which ultimately led to his death on February 7, 2010. 


The case was prosecuted by Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott M. Lang and Associate Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul J. Powers.  Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.