Dying for Attention

Clover Boykin killed babies because she wanted attention.
 
Now, because of the unwanted attention she received from other convicts in the Florida prison system, Clover sits alone most of the time, separated from the inmates who view baby killers as the lowest of the low in the rigid caste system prisoners embrace.
 
Killing one infant and getting away with it wasn’t enough for Clover, so she found she had to murder again. The second time, she chose her own son. She would have kept on killing if police hadn’t stopped her, she admitted.
 
“I’m evil,” she said in a confession. “I thank them for stopping me, or I would have gone on hurting someone else.”
 
When Kayla Basante was born in 1993, it wasn’t too difficult for her parents to settle on 18-year-old Clover Boykin as a day care option. Their families had been friends for years and Clover was seen as a warm, responsible young woman. Inside her head, however, something was terribly wrong.
 
“Just everything stays bottled up inside me and there’s just always a mixture of everything that goes around in my head, so it’s never one particular thing that always gets me,” she told police in one interview.
 
In November 1993, Clover stood over Kayla’s crib as the 9-month-old baby lay sleeping. With her eyes closed, she seethed with rage, angry over the fact that her boyfriend had indicated he still had feelings for a former girlfriend. That was enough to set her off.
 
“She said she remembered seeing a blanket wrapped around Kayla’s throat,” wrote an investigator in case notes. “She then noticed that Kayla’s face was turning blue.”
 
She came out of her fugue state and called 911. A Palm Springs police officer was able to resucitate the baby, but brain damage had occurred and she was placed on life support. A few days later, the distraught parents disconnected Kayla from the machines and donated her organs. The manner of death was accidental and the cause listed on her death certificate was “traumatic asphyxiation.”
 
In the course of their investigation into Kayla’s death, police were not told about the phone call Clover made to her future husband and Dayton’s father, Steven, on the day Kayla was strangled.
 
Out of the blue, Clover brought up Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, something Steven had never heard of. “Basically, that’s when a baby stops breathing and dies,” Clover told him. Then, as if the conversation had worried her, Clover started to sign off. “Well, I have to check on Kayla.”
 
“I’m like, ‘You don’t have to check on Kayla, she’ll be fine,’” Steven recalled later. “‘That will never happen.’ Later on that day I got a call that it happened.”
 
The phone call would not come up until almost a year later, when the brief marriage of Clover and Steven was foundering, and Clover was in custody for strangling 5-month-old Dayton.
 
The Boykins were living a strange lifestyle at this point, with Clover having an affair with the tacit approval of her husband.
 
“Her husband didn’t want anything to do with her, and I did,” the man told the Palm Beach Post.
 
As the marriage disintegrated, Steven Boykins told Clover that he intended to seek custody of their son. The fear of losing her son — a child she was apparently ambivalent about having — prompted Clover’s twisted act.
 
At first, she claimed the murder was the result of acting out in a nightmare. In her dream, her father, who had abandoned his family when Clover was a young teen but had never abused his daughter, was trying to sexually assault her. She reached out and grabbed the baby, who was sleeping next to her in her bed, and throttled him until he was dead.
 
“I had another nightmare that I had fallen,” Clover told police. “My father was on me wanting me to sleep with him, and I grabbed him around the neck, and instead it wasn’t my father, it was my son.”
 
Then she got up, dressed and went to the doctor’s office where she worked as a file clerk.
 
Over the course of the next several hours she called her sister-in-law twice, waking her up the first time for a nonsensical reason, and the second time sending her into her bedroom in search of her glasses, knowing that the woman would discover Dayton dead in the bed.
 
When they heard of the tragedy — before foul play was suspected — the parents of Kayla Basante rushed to the hospital to comfort the grieving mother.
 
“We consoled her, and she played it so well,” the father told the media. “By then, I was having my doubts.”
 
It took several days for authorities to complete their investigation, during which time Clover began exhibiting increasingly bizarre behavior.
 
“Clover wasn’t crying or showing any kind of remorse,” one detective wrote. “She stated to family members, ‘Today at work, while I was working one of the doctors told me to get him a cup of coffee. I told him that wasn’t in my job description. What nerve he had.’”
 
After leaving her dead son with the medical examiner, Clover returned to her lover and the two had sex.
 
The next day, at work, she described how Dayton was “cut up” during the autopsy — despite the fact that no autopsy had yet taken place.
 
She said it “with a totally straight face, like she had this audience,” one coworker recalled.
 
When the autopsy showed blood collected in Dayton’s throat, police brought Clover in for an interrogation.
 
“Clover explained that no one ever gives her attention and that she needs and wants attention,” Detective Olsen wrote his report. “She asked me if I would help her, and I advised I would do the best I could.”
 
Shortly after, Clover admitted to killing Dayton and then revealed she was responsible for Kayla’s death.
 
“I killed my baby and Kayla, and I need help,” she said.
 
In 1996, Clover Boykin pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Her family, baffled by her meltdown, disputes that she was ever a victim of abuse. Her former husband has tried to move on with his life. She spends most of her time in close custody — alone — for her own protection.
 
While Clover Boykin is never far from the minds of the people she hurt, in the end, no one pays any attention to her. She is, for all intents and purposes, buried alive.
 
And that’s how it should be.