a brunette woman from behind standing in a prison cell in the late 1960s

Have you ever wondered about the aftermath of a horrific crime? What happens to those responsible for unthinkable acts? What happened to Gertrude Baniszewski?

Ryan Green’s book Torture Mom details the consequences faced by Gertrude Baniszewski and her family following the tragic death of Sylvia Likens. He covers the legal proceedings, convictions, and the varied fates of those involved in this shocking case.

Keep reading to learn about the culmination of one of the most disturbing true crime stories.

Gertrude Baniszewski’s Trial

What happened to Gertrude Baniszewski after Sylvia’s tragic death? The legal repercussions and public outcry that followed shed light on the situation and its lasting impact. Gertrude and her children were quickly apprehended and charged, leading to trials that unveiled the horrific abuse Sylvia had endured.

Throughout the legal proceedings, the full extent of the abuse came to light. Initially, Marie, Gertrude’s daughter, backed her mother’s fabricated claims. However, she eventually confessed during the trial to the horrific abuse Sylvia had suffered. Gertrude had concocted tales that painted Sylvia as a girl of questionable virtue in the community, attempting to justify her actions by alleging made-up misdeeds on Sylvia’s part.

Stephanie Baniszewski’s trial was delayed as she chose to assist the authorities by providing essential evidence. It’s worth noting that social services had been deceived by Gertrude’s manipulations, with threats ensuring Jenny’s coerced compliance.

In the end, Gertrude was convicted of first-degree murder and received a life sentence without parole. Paula, initially found guilty of second-degree murder, successfully appealed and subsequently entered a plea deal. This downgraded her conviction to voluntary manslaughter, resulting in her parole after just three years of incarceration. Gertrude’s other children were found guilty of intentional homicide without premeditation and sentenced to serve time in a juvenile detention center.

The aftermath of these events varied for each individual involved. Coy showed no remorse even after his release, continuing a life of crime. John, on the other hand, expressed genuine remorse for his actions. Tragically, after his release, Ricky suffered a mental breakdown and ultimately succumbed to complications from lung cancer.

A Re-Examination of Gertrude’s Case

Gertrude’s story is a complex one that’s stirred up quite a bit of controversy. Initially, she was convicted of murder—the most serious charge against her. However, this conviction was later overturned. In the subsequent trial, without her daughter’s crucial testimony, Gertrude ended up with an eighteen-year sentence instead.

After spending nearly two decades behind bars, Gertrude’s release from prison sparked considerable public outrage. It also led many to question the fairness of the legal system. The public’s concern was so intense that a staggering forty thousand people rallied together in an attempt to prevent her release.

Despite Gertrude’s efforts to minimize her responsibility by blaming substance abuse and confusion, she was eventually released on parole. She pleaded for understanding, but the community’s reaction was far from forgiving. It’s clear that Gertrude’s case has left a lasting impact on public perception of justice and rehabilitation.

What Happened to Gertrude Baniszewski?

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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