CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) – A Clarksville mom has been sentenced to decades in prison for her role in the death of her 3-year-old daughter, Alexis Arensman.
Arensman was found unresponsive in her home in February 2015. The coroner later determined the little girl died from battered child syndrome. Alexis’ sister, Bethannie, was also severely injured but survived.
The girls’ mother, Cynthia Weigleb, pleaded guilty in May to neglect of a dependent resulting in death and neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury. She appeared in Clark Circuit Court Monday afternoon where she was sentenced to 32 years in prison and 5 years of supervised probation. Weigleb remained silent as a deputy escorted her in and out of the courthouse, holding up a folder to hide her face from news cameras.
Weigleb's co-defendant and ex-boyfriend, Joseph Manske, was sentenced in April to 35 years in prison and 5 years of supervised release. Weigleb and Manske both took plea deals offered to them by the prosecution.
Clark Co. Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said the ex-lovers "got what they deserved" -- decades in prison.
“We got very stiff prison sentences for both these individuals, based on what we had, and I do feel like justice has finally been obtained for these girls,” Mull said. “This was an incredibly complex case to prosecute.”
The complexity of the case and convoluted evidence ultimately led the prosecution to push for plea deals rather than taking the case to trial. Mull said the girls’ living conditions made it difficult to determine who abused them and he was worried about the defense instilling doubt in a jury at trial. He said the girls lived in a home with multiple adults and no one wanted to take responsibility for the injuries or talk to investigators about what happened.
“Everyone was denying that they were the person that caused the injuries,” said Mull. “But I felt confident all along that [Weigleb and Manske] were the ones responsible for what happened to these little girls."
Mull said Bethannie would have been an important witness for the prosecution, had the case gone to trial, but it was apparent the little girl was “still very much traumatized” and likely unable to testify.
Bethannie now lives with foster parents who are helping her in her recovery.