NEWS
03/22/2016 14:13 EDT | Updated 03/23/2017 01:12 EDT

Regina woman appealing convictions in death of young girl, abuse of sister

REGINA — A Regina woman found guilty of killing a four-year-old girl and neglecting and abusing the child's younger sister has filed an appeal.

A jury convicted Tammy Goforth last month of second-degree murder and unlawfully causing bodily harm.

She automatically received a life sentence and a judge ruled she cannot apply for parole for at least 17 years.

The Court of Appeal says Goforth is appealing both her convictions and sentence.

Goforth's husband, Kevin Goforth, was also found guilty of manslaughter and unlawfully causing bodily harm and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Court heard the young sisters were severely malnourished, dehydrated and covered in bruises and open sores when the Goforths took them to a hospital in July 2012.

The girls, who can't be identified due to a publication ban, were placed in the couple's home in November 2011.

The four-year-old had suffered cardiac arrest and was taken off life support machines after a couple of days. An autopsy showed she died of a brain injury.

Her two-year-old sister survived.

The defence argued during the trial that the girls had been sick and lost weight, but were never denied food. Court heard the couple threw birthday parties for the children and took them to the park, museums and church.

The Crown told the jury that it was apparent the girls were wasting away — they were just skin and bones — and were also kept in poor living conditions and sometimes restrained.

Police found hair stuck to duct tape and fabric and cardboard with blood and feces in the girls' bedroom.

The Canadian Press