Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

June 8, 2013

Niemerg sentenced to 5 years in prison

(Continued)

Some of those defense witnesses had employed Niemerg to watch their children before the events of May 4, 2011.

“I always thought she did a good job,” said Philip Repking, whose daughter was in Niemerg’s care. “If we were allowed to take her (his daughter) there, we would.”

Friend Maria McWhorter said Niemerg became like a “second mother” to her children, while Holly Ordner, who described herself as Niemerg’s best friend, said her friend was very “laid back and caring.”

“If I had kids, I would definitely let her watch my children,” Ordner said.

Husband Greg Niemerg described his wife as “the best mom ever.”

The daylong hearing began Friday morning with testimony from a variety of prosecution witnesses. Some, like Dr. Colleen Bingham — Nathan’s pediatrician — and neighbor Michelle Hartke, testified about the changes Nathan underwent after the injury.

Bingham testified that Nathan was a normal child before May 4, 2011.

“His physical and social development was very normal,” she said. “He was rolling over, sitting up, and seeking attention from whoever was in the room.”

Bingham said she had seen Nathan the day before he was injured and noticed no signs of stress.

Since the injury, Bingham said, she has seen Nathan every two or four weeks because of the developmental issues stemming from the injury.

“He functions at the level of a 4-month-old,” the doctor said.

Bingham said the injury caused “severe” brain damage that has left Nathan legally blind and unable to sit up on his own. She also testified that he will “probably” need some form of assistance for the rest of his life.

“Will he ever be able to live on his own?” asked Kibler.

“Probably not,” Bingham responded, as Donnie Dill began crying in the front row of the courtroom.

Hartke, a longtime friend of the Dills, provided more personal testimony for the prosecution.

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