WHITMAN — Shaniqua Leonard, 29, of Whitman was granted bail of $2500 cash following a dangerousness hearing on Monday at Brockton District Court in which she was deemed dangerous.
With strong conditions set in place by Judge Julie J. Bernard — who left the stand for half an hour before making a ruling — that Leonard not have any contact with her remaining six children she; have no contact, direct or indirect with minor children; refrain from using drugs and alcohol and submit to random testing, cooperate in a mental health evaluation, wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, and not possess firearms.
The judge rules Leonard may attend her daughter’s funeral, if she stays 10 feet away from her children and notifies probation.
She had been held without bail on Friday January 10 charged with one count of reckless endangerment in the death of her biological child Lyric Farrell, 2.
On Friday, during her probable cause hearing, Leonard pleaded not guilty to one count of reckless endangerment of a child through her defense lawyer Michael Tumposky.
On Jan. 10, Assistant District Attorney Jessica Kenny entered into the record the details from the Whitman police 911 call and the medical examiner’s report regarding injuries Farrell had sustained including: a contusion of both the front and back of the skull, a brain bleed, multiple levels of bruising in different stages of healing, fresh, deep clawing and scratch marks about the head, neck and face among other injuries.
Kenny read from the police reports that Leonard had stated to police that the child had somehow harmed herself by hitting her head.
Continued testing through the medical examiner on Lyric’s eyes and brain will be used to determine the manner and cause of death. A degree of head trauma such as Farrell’s could not be accidental in nature, Kenny stated as she read from the M E reports entered into the court.
Lyric’s father Chris Farrell was present at the court but declined comment to this reporter on Friday.
He had previously stated in published reports that his daughter was in his mother’s custody (Lyric’s grandmother) before being returned to her biological mother Leonard by the Department of Children and Families approximately four weeks before her death.
Leonard had seven biological children and lost custody of all of them in 2017. She had gradually regained custody of each child and had delivered a set of twins approximately a year prior to her regaining custody of Lyric. The child was returned only weeks prior to Christmas 2019 and pronounced brain dead Dec. 31.
Prosecutors played 911 calls entered into the record, including the initial call for help that Leonard placed stating her child was not breathing. The call took place around midnight on Dec. 28 and, for nearly three minutes, EMS could be heard pounding on the door on Washington Street before they were let in to assess the child.
Once inside EMS detailed the condition of the child in a blanket found on the couch, which prompted immediate care. She was taken to the Brockton Hospital and then airlifted to Boston where she was taken off life support two days later.
According to details read from the police officers’ reports the other children were all dressed and in their coats when first responders were let in the house on Dec. 28.
Leonard reportedly told officers that she had been waking the children to use the bathroom as she always did when she realized Lyric wasn’t breathing.
ADA Kenny entered more than a dozen cell phone videos into the record, which showed Lyric to be incapacitated, wheezing, eyes rolling and having trouble holding her head up, she said. She also read the documented length of time Leonard waited to take the child for medical attention. Other videos were entered that appeared to be taken by Lyric’s siblings on Leonard’s phone with taunting of Lyric as she struggled to breath and in one video a sibling threw water at Lyric; holding a cross to her to ‘get the demons out’ she stated. Her siblings were interviewed with the 9-year-old child reporting that her mother said, “Lyric is dead,” and instructed them to go get dressed.
In the continued dangerousness hearing on Monday Jan. 13, a statement was released by the Office of Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz.
“The District Attorney respectfully disagrees but accepts the court’s decision,” Cruz stated. “State Police and Whitman Police have been actively investigating the circumstances surrounding Lyric Farrell’s death since she was brought to the hospital for treatment. That investigation continues, and additional charges will be sought if they are supported by the evidence once the Medical Examiner completes the autopsy. We moved today to have Ms. Leonard deemed dangerous and asked that she be held without bail due in part to concern for the safety of Lyric’s six remaining siblings. The Judge set a monetary bail with conditions for Ms. Leonard, one of the most important being that she not be permitted to have any contact with those children.”