UPDATE: Mother of ‘Ninja Dorian’ Pleads Guilty to Fraud; 1-5 Years Probation Recommended
The mother of the boy nicknamed "Ninja Dorian" who story of terminal brain cancer spurred an outpouring of community sympathy and cash earlier this year pleaded guilty to one count of fraud on Friday.
Krishelle Layton entered an "Alford Plea," meaning she maintains her innocence while admitting prosecutors probably would be able to present enough evidence to persuade a jury that she was guilty, her public defender Tracy Hucke said.
Layton entered the plea before Natrona County District Court Judge Thomas Sullins in what was originally scheduled as a motions hearing before the trial was to begin Jan. 5.
A pre-sentence investigation will be conducted before her sentencing, which probably will be in two to three months, Hucke said.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Schafer said the state will be recommending a sentence of one to five years probation. A hearing for how much she will pay in restitution will be set at a later date, too.
Schafer outlined the evidence that would have shown Layton would have knowingly obtained property by false pretenses, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The case started when the Casper Police Department received a complaint on Feb. 20 of a possible fraud, he said.
Schafer cited reports including information in an affidavit filed by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, “Layton had represented to the Casper Police Department and other agencies and individuals through social media, traditional media and personal representations that D.L. had untreatable terminal brain cancer and that he would die in a short period of time."
The supposedly terminally ill child had been named police chief for a day, visited other cancer-stricken children, had the Facebook page “Karate Chop Cancer with Ninja Dorian,” and was the subject of a CNN iReport.
One charitable organization had obtained a medical waiver to speak with the Dorian’s doctor, Michael Rytting, a pediatric oncology specialist in Houston. Rytting told the organization that the child indeed had a tumor, but its condition had improved, he was stable and could lead a normal life, according to the affidavit.
Among some of the alleged fraud actions, DCI agents learned from a local charity that Layton claimed to have been fired from her previous job because of taking her son to cancer appointments.
Layton’s family told former Casper Police Chief Chris Walsh that they had no permanent housing, and he let them stay with them for two weeks. On Feb. 14, Layton was making death preparations for Dorian, and Walsh asked her why she hadn’t taken her son to the doctor. Layton then packed the family’s belongings left in the middle of the night.
The total amount of cash given to Ninja Dorian's cause amounted to more than $10,000, plus donated goods and services, according to Schafer and court records.