Trial starts for woman accused of abusing disabled adult

Posted at 6:24 AM, Sep 17, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-17 14:32:22-04

The trial for a woman accused of the deadly abuse of a 22-year-old disabled woman began Monday with jury selection.

Sherrie Beckering and her husband, Dale, are accused of abusing Christina Harms, who was found hanging crucifixion style in a closet in March 2011.

Beckering has entered a not guilty plea to a charge of aggravated abuse of a vulnerable adult.

"There was an abuse that was occurring that was extreme, that was occurring over a long period of time in a household and all members of the household would have known of the abuse, there was just no way of not knowing about it," said Chad Platt, prosecutor.

Christina Harms suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome and had the mental capacity of a 12-year-old.

Beckering's daughter, Cassandra Shepard, was Harms' legal guardian, but Beckering and her husband also lived in the home with Harms and at one point cared for Harms for a 6-month period.

Dale Beckering, 53, was found guilty of abuse of a vulnerable adult back in February and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

If convicted, Sherrie Beckering could face life in prison.