Woman Going To Prison For Killing Boyfriend's Child

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A woman will serve eight years in prison for killing her boyfriend's 13-month-old girl with a blow to the head.

Leigh Postalwait, 21, who lived with Ashley Kirk's father in Barberton, sobbed heavily while standing before Summit County Common Pleas Judge Brenda Burnham Unruh.

She apologized publicly for the first time.

"I want to say I'm sorry for what happened. I have to live with the pain every day," Postalwait said.

Last month, she pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child endangering.

Postalwait admitted that Ashley had spent the night of Sept. 19 crying and screaming, causing Postalwait to lose sleep.

At some point, Postalwait said, she tossed the toddler into a crib and went to a bathroom. A short time later, she found the girl unconscious.

Larry Kirk, 23, initially denied that his daughter was ever abused. He blamed her injuries and death on a host of health problems, including a brittle bone condition.

Neither Kirk or Ashley's mother, Lisa Poling, attended Postalwait's sentencing.

Tracy Poling, Ashley's step-grandmother, was the only relative to appear in court. Shaking uncontrollably and sobbing, she asked a victim's advocate to read her letter about how the girl's death has affected her and her family.

"You have shown no remorse for what you have done. Not one time have you apologized to me or my family for the anger and hurt you have put us through," Poling wrote.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)