Mother sentenced to prison in connection with her son's murder is requesting early release
A mother who pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the death of her own son is requesting to be released from prison early.
On January 26, 2013, 14-year-old Teddy Foltz was murdered by his mother, Shain Widdersheim's boyfriend at the time, Zaryl Bush.
Bush is currently serving his 33-year-to-life prison sentence after pleading guilty and being convicted of murdering Foltz.
Bush admitted to eight separate charges, including the ongoing abuse of Foltz.
21 News learned that the ongoing abuse of Foltz included forcing the teen to walk on hot coals, locking food pantries in the home and frequent beatings in front of his two younger brothers.
Widdersheim plead guilty to four counts of child endangerment and one count of obstruction of justice after instructing Foltz's siblings to lie about Foltz's death.
A manslaughter charge against her was dropped as she was not present at the time of Foltz's murder.
She was sentenced to 15 years in prison on September 10, 2013.
In a letter to a judge, Widdersheim is requesting early release, stating Widdersheim has served 59% of her sentence and is eligible for early release.
Widdersheim believes she should be released because she has worked to rehabilitate herself while in prison, completing 48 rehabilitation programs in the more than eight years behind bars.
Widdersheim also claims that she was abused as a child, which warped her judgment.
She has also participated in community service and has multiple letters of recommendation from the community and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions and inactions that led to the murder of my son,” Widdersheim said in the letter to the judge. “I am exceedingly sorrowful for my shortcomings as a mother that resulted in Teddy’s death and the loss of custody and contact with my twin sons.”
When Widdersheim's former neighbor and friend, April Williams read the Widdersheim's comment in the letter, she responded, "How exactly does that justify Teddy's death and the absolute torment that the twins went through? It honestly doesn’t."
Kelly Plummer, Foltz's godmother and Widdersheim's former best friend, is opposed to Widdersheim receiving early release.
"She needs to be in prison for the rest of her life as far as I'm concerned," Plummer told 21 News on Thursday. "She should have protected her children and she chose not to. She doesn't deserve the title as a mother. These kids lived in a horrible two years with this man [Zaryl Bush] and we made numerous reports to Children Services and they failed us."
"She absolutely knew the difference between right and wrong and her 'mother's love' should have taken over," Williams said. "She should have saved her babies from that monster."
Williams added she is fortunate Widdersheim is receiving treatment from her previous abuse but added, "It’s just too bad she didn’t afford Teddy the same chance at healing. He won’t be able to see a therapist in his 40’s to get closure. His closure started the first day she didn’t save him from Zaryl and ended the last day she didn’t save him from Zaryl."
Plummer runs the Support Teddy Foltz Memorial fund on Facebook, and has made her opposition to Widdersheim's release well known.
"All I have is pictures to look back on and she's asking the judge to release her when she should have been a mother to protect her children," Plummer said. "She chose not to protect her children."
It is unknown when a decision could be made regarding Widdersheim's release.