Prosecutors reportedly argued Kaitlyn Conley poisoned Mary Yoder, for whom she had worked for four years, as revenge against Yoder's son, Adam

By Chris Harris
January 12, 2018 05:16 PM

On Thursday, before being sentenced to 23 years in prison in the 2015 poisoning death of her ex-boyfriend’s mother, a 24-year-old New York woman insisted she was innocent of the crime of which she’d been convicted three months earlier.

According to multiple news reports, Kaitlyn Conley was found guilty in November of first-degree manslaughter in the death of 60-year-old Mary Louise Yoder, a Whitesboro, New York, chiropractor who was also her boss.

The Post-Standard and local TV station WKTV report that Conley spoke during her sentencing in Oneida County, New York, Court on Thursday, saying: “With all respect to the justice system, I’m innocent.”

In addition to her prison term, Conley will be under five years’ post-release supervision, according to WKTV.

Prosecutors argued Conley poisoned Yoder, for whom she had worked for four years, as revenge against Yoder’s son, Adam, the Post-Standard reported. Yoder died in July 2015.

Mary Yoder
| Credit: Eannace Funeral Home

Conley had known Adam since 2011 and the two had dated off and on before Yoder’s death, according to the Utica Observer-Dispatch. But their relationship was turbulent, and Conley’s defense reportedly contended Adam was abusive and controlling.

At Thursday’s sentencing, two of Yoder’s daughters, Liana Hegde and Tamaryn Yoder, asked the judge to give Conley the maximum sentence, according to the Post-Standard.

“My mother’s heart stopped beating because of this defendant,” Tamaryn said. “I ask the court for the maximum sentence.”

Hedge said Conley “has never shown remorse for her actions,” and that because of her personal and professional ties to the family, she was present in their lives as Yoder was ill and dying: “She wanted to be there and see it happen.”

Conley’s first trial ended in a hung jury in May, and she is appealing her conviction. She was first charged in June 2016.

Jurors at her second trial found Conley not guilty on a more serious charge of second-degree murder.

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Kaitlyn Conley
| Credit: Facebook

Her attorney reportedly said after, of the manslaughter conviction, “You have to still prove that she poisoned [Yoder], okay? If she didn’t poison her with the intent to kill, where’s the evidence that she poisoned her with the intent to commit serious physical injury?”

Conley’s defense argued at her second trial that Adam was to blame and that the evidence against her was circumstantial and she was a pawn of a cover-up, according to the Post-Standard.

William Yoder, Mary’s husband, and Adam also asked for the maximum sentence to be imposed on Conley.

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“[Conley] had a fight with my son … and then murdered his mother,” William reportedly said in court.

However, another of Mary Yoder’s sisters, Janine King, reportedly told the judge she believes Conley is innocent.

Conley’s sisters said much the same as King when they spoke out in an interview with in November.

The Oneida County Prosecutor’s Office did not respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment. Conley’s attorney could not immediately be reached.