Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Treva Throneberry: The Girl Who Refused to Grow Up

Defending the Perceived Self

Judge Robert Harris
Judge Robert Harris

Treva's trial began in November 2001 in Vancouver, Washington, Superior Court. The hearing was presided over by Judge Robert Harris and Michael Kinnie was the lead prosecutor in the case against Treva. The trial gained nationwide media attention, if only for the fact that the "serial teenager," believed to suffer from severe psychological problems, was found mentally competent enough to defend herself. 

Treva Throneberry in court
Treva Throneberry in court

From the beginning the trial was a farce. Obviously lacking experience, Treva cross-examined witness after witness asking pointless questions and often lacking the basic knowledge to understand what some witnesses were saying in the first place. She also was unable to successfully counter Kinnie's case. Nonetheless, her lack of legal knowledge did not deter her, although it visibly irked the judge and prosecution.

Brianna Stewart's ID
Brianna Stewart's ID

Conversely, Kinnie presented a strong case against the defendant and was able to prove over and over again that Treva and Brianna were one and the same and that she was a pathological liar, even if she denied it. He called her a "pampered child" who took advantage of the system for financial and educational gain. Moreover, he refuted that she was psychologically impaired in any way. Hollandsworth said that the prosecution had a "slam dunk case," one that the jury had no problem believing.

The jury found Treva guilty of seven counts of fraud and perjury, and the judge sentenced her to three years and two months in the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor. Not surprisingly, Treva was devastated that the jury did not believe her and decided to file an appeal. According to the Associated Press, the judge later said that "the case frustrated him and he wanted to send Throneberry to a state mental hospital months ago but did not have any reason," since experts agreed that that she wasn't legally insane or incompetent. Instead, he decided to recommend that she receive psychotherapy while in prison. 

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Finally on June 18, 2003, after serving two years, Treva was released from prison. Even after her incarceration she maintains that she is 13 years younger than her original birth certificate states and claims she has the documentation to prove it. This time, she speaks the truth, at least concerning the documentation because the Washington Department of Licensing gave her an ID card with her name listed as Brianna Stewart and her birth date as December 22, 1981, which makes her 21 years old, Portland  Oregon, television KATU 2 News reported. To date, Treva lives in Washington  State and is appealing her fraud conviction to the State Supreme Court, the article further suggested. It is clear that she will never give up fighting for official recognition as Brianna Stewart. For her, Treva is long dead.

 

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