- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A Springfield woman who authorities say was kept a virtual prisoner and forced to pretend she was handicapped by her mother has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for arranging the woman’s death.

Gypsy Blanchard, 24, agreed to the plea deal Tuesday in June 2015 stabbing death of Clauddinnea “Dee Dee” Blanchard, 48, at their home near Springfield. She had originally been charged with first-degree murder and Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson said he believed he could have secured a conviction on that charges. But he said he did not believe that would have been appropriate because of the abuse Gypsy Blanchard suffered, The Springfield News-Leader reported (https://sgfnow.co/29nmeXW ).

“When you look at this case, it’s a murder. And it’s a first-degree murder,” Patterson said. “But it’s also one of the most extraordinary and unusual cases we have seen.”

Gypsy Blanchard’s attorney, Mike Stanfield, said Dee Dee Blanchard abused her daughter for decades.

“Essentially Gypsy’s mother was holding her a prisoner,” Stanfield said. “Her mother would not allow her to spend any time alone with any other human being. Her mother, when they went to the doctor, did all the talking.”

The daughter said Tuesday she stopped going to school after second grade.

Gypsy Blanchard will have to serve 8½ years before being eligible for release.

Prosecutors allege Blanchard persuaded her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, 27, of Big Bend, Wisconsin, to come to Springfield to kill her mother. Godejohn faces trial in November for first-degree murder.

Friends and neighbors believed Gypsy Blanchard, who used a wheelchair, suffered from leukemia and muscular dystrophy. Authorities said the mother and daughter, who is not disabled, also ran a long-term financial scam that included convincing people they were Hurricane Katrina survivors.

Neighbors and friends feared Gypsy Blanchard was endangered when she went missing. But she and her boyfriend, who met and chatted on a Christian dating website, were arrested in Wisconsin two days after Dee Dee Blanchard’s body was found on June 14, 2015.

“It’s kind of what movies are made of, that very twisted information that you don’t see it coming around the corner,” Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott told the News-Leader last month. “When the information came in, you were like, ‘How is that possible?’”

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com

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