Convicted baby killer released from prison - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Convicted baby killer released from prison

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Panna Krom was released from prison on Friday. (WFSB photo) Panna Krom was released from prison on Friday. (WFSB photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

A Danbury woman convicted of killing her newborn daughter 10 years ago was released from a Niantic prison on Friday morning.

For 26-year-old Panna Krom, Friday was a day of happiness and tears.

She was sentenced to 18 years in prison and served 10 of them.

Eyewitness News crews were rolling as Panna Krom hugged her family.

"I missed my family the most," she said. "I am just so grateful to be with everyone. I just can't believe this day is finally here."

She appeared in front of the parole board earlier this month and was granted clemency despite not being eligible for parole until 2019. 

Her lawyer argued Panna Krom is rehabilitated and that others given similar sentences have received less prison time.

In 2008, she pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter as part of a plea deal. She served nine years in prison.

She was convicted of drowning her baby daughter in a toilet inside her parents home. Panna Krom was 17 at the time and claimed to have committed the crime because her parents, who are from Cambodia, did not approve of premarital sex.

During her time behind bars, Panna Krom's lawyer says her client was a model prisoner. She earned a high school degree, mentored younger prisoners and spoke with visiting high school students.

She also took college courses from Wesleyan University.

"This is different because of these young girls under distress," Doug Hood, who helped the family, said. "Their first time pregnancy, shattered a taboo at home about being with boys."

Her parents said they know their daughter did a terrible thing. However, they felt she learned a great deal.

"The moment I see her walk out, the tears just come out," said Chan Krom. "But right now, it's the happy moment of my life. I have no words to describe."

"I couldn't wait to pick her up. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't wait to come here [and] give her a good hug and tell her 'sweetheart lets go home,'" said Song Krom.

"Now I need to spend some time at home with my parents, my brother, aunts and uncles," Panna Krom said. "I want to get my driver's license and get started on the work I promised pregnant teens in distress."

While in prison, Panna Krom said she has been working with advocates of the state's Safe Haven Law, which allows mothers to drop off their babies at hospitals with no questions asked.

Friday, she said she was simply looking forward to being home with her family and having some Cambodian food.

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