The mom accused of catfishing her own daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend was sentenced to 19 months to five years in prison.
Kendra Licari previously pleaded guilty to two counts of stalking a minor after being charged with five felony counts for harassing her own daughter, and her daughter’s boyfriend, for more than a year with hundreds text messages.
Police say Licari hid her identity and location with fake IP addresses and tried to make it seem like another student was sending the messages.
Isabella County Prosecutor David Barberi said this is one of the most confusing and complicated cases he’s had to deal with. Not only from the case itself, but also when it came to sentencing. They hope to let the victims have a say, but the two victims here, Licari’s daughter and her boyfriend, had different expectations.
She was hoping for leniency; she didn’t want to feel responsible for putting her mother in prison. The other victim, Owen McKenny, his family wanted the book thrown at Licari saying they couldn’t understand how a mother could do what she did, for as long as she did and the long-term impact it’s going to have on their son.
“Prison is a good start,” said Jill McKenny, Owen’s mother. “Give her some time to think about what she did. Time away from her daughter and everybody else.”
In the packed courtroom Wednesday, Isabella County Judge Mark Duthie handed down the sentence after hearing from Licari herself and some of her victims.
“It felt good. It felt good to actually look her in the eye,” said Jill. “It felt good to just address her and ask why. I know I’ll never get the reason, a true reason, but it just felt good to address her today.”
Licari was emotional in her statement. She apologized profusely and said she is getting help for her own mental illness and trauma.
“I think for somebody to do what they’ve done, there’s clearly something not right,” said David McKenny, Owen’s father. “But I’m not a big fan of using that as a reason to blame it on that.”
Licari helped Jill through the process. They came together to find out who was sending these messages. They were the ones who turned to police in the first place, together. Licari knowing the whole time she was the source.
“To me there was enough time in the two and a half year span to stop doing what she was doing and she chose to continue,” said Jill. “At that point, my empathy kind of falls off. She saw the damage she was causing and just continued on with it.”
Licari is heading to prison, and her victims can now get some closure and peace.
“It feels a lot better knowing that I’m going to have my privacy now,” said Owen. “I can start being with my friends again not having to worry about things and feels really, really nice.”
It feels really nice now but the long term impact is yet to be seen. That was a major reason why Judge Duthie made sure she went to prison, instead of county jail for a year followed by probation.
“The judge indicated in the record that he factored in the long term trauma that this is going to harming both the children but also the community,” said Barberi. “I think that’s the first step, and not necessarily the final step, to the healing process starting.”