Published June 24, 2012
PRICE, Utah – A Utah judge told the mother of a 13-year-old girl who chopped off a toddler's long hair in a restaurant that he would reduce her daughter's sentence if she cut off the teenager's own ponytail in court.
District Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen gave Valerie Bruno the option to either cut off her daughter Kaytlen Lopan's long hair "right now" with courtroom scissors or have the teen spend an extra 150 hours in detention as punishment for hacking off the locks of a 3-year-old girl she befriended in a McDonald's in Price.
Bruno opted for the haircut but later expressed her anger over the judgment and said that she had filed an official complaint against the judge.
"She definitely needed to be punished for what had happened," she told the Deseret News. "But I never dreamt it would be that much of a punishment."
Mindy Moss, the mother of the 3-year-old girl, supported the decision and even was asked by the judge if she was satisfied with the length Bruno initially cut off her daughter's blonde hair in court.
"No," Moss replied. "My daughter's hair that had never been cut, that was down to [the middle of her back], was cut up to here [her jaw]."
Johansen then ordered Bruno to "take it off clear up to the rubber band."
On the day of the attack, Kaytlen and an unnamed 11-year-old female friend spoke to the girl in McDonald's, then asked a server there if they could borrow a pair of scissors. When their request was refused, the youngsters went to a nearby dollar shop to buy a pair and returned to the restaurant to carry out the act.
At an earlier hearing, Johansen ordered the 11-year-old girl to have her hair cut as short as his but allowed the child to have the haircut in a salon.
Bruno added, "I guess I should have went into the courtroom knowing my rights because I felt very intimidated. An eye for an eye, that's not how you teach kids right from wrong."
Kaytlen also admitted to charges in another case rising from eight months of phone calls she made to a Colorado teen that included threats of rape and mutilation.