|Rebecca Steinmiller, 26,
appeares Thursday in the courtroom of Wood County Judge Robert Pollex. (Photo: Enoch
A Bowling Green woman will spend three years in prison on a child endangering charge in connection to the
2012 death of her infant son.
Rebecca Steinmiller, 26, appeared Thursday in the courtroom of Wood County Judge Robert Pollex. She
pleaded guilty in October to an amended charge of endangering children in the death of Carter
Steinmiller, who was 4 months old at the time of his death on May 5, 2012.
"Rebecca’s actions… were not planned," said her attorney, Kurt Bruderly, prior to sentencing.
"Her actions didn’t kill Carter Steinmiller," he said later.
The child’s father, Brian Steinmiller, 32, was sentenced to 14 years in prison in November after pleading
guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering children as part of a plea
agreement in Carter’s death.
Carter sustained numerous injuries throughout his short life, including 23 rib fractures, burns
throughout his body, fractures to an arm bone, and skull injuries, among numerous others, caused by
Brian Steinmiller. The cause of death was found to be abusive head trauma, and the abuse had reportedly
been ongoing since January 2012, the month Carter was born.
Bruderly argued that his client suffered from psychological issues noted in a doctor’s report, and also
from battered woman syndrome – though he said that one of those problems served as an excuse. He said
that she had been abused by Brian Steinmiller, and even threatened with a knife.
"I’ll paint the walls red with your blood," Bruderly reported that Brian Steinmiller once said
He further argued that, given her psychological problems, Rebecca could likely be manipulated and
exploited by other inmates in prison.
Bruderly said Rebecca was asleep at the time of the May 5 incident, "woke up and found her son
unconscious," and both parents attempted CPR until paramedics arrived.
Prosecuting attorney Gwen Howe-Gebers doubted whether Rebecca Steinmiller fully suffered from battered
woman syndrome and said "we had a four-month-old child, Carter, unable to protect himself,"
and he should have been her focus. She said the defendant had family support and was in treatment at the
time of the death.
A weeping Steinmiller declined to offer her own statement in court.
"The court has a real problem with this case," said Pollex, before rendering sentence. He noted
his understanding of Steinmiller’s issues and limitations, but was still concerned that she knew of the
abuse suffered by the child, and still left him in Brian Steinmiller’s care. Further, he noted that
Rebecca Steinmiller had opportunities to report the abuse to authorities and did not.