Child abuser in US sentenced to 99 years in prison
Wednesday 17 Oct 2012 9:48 a.m.
A Dallas woman who beat her two-year-old daughter and glued the toddler's hands to a wall was sentenced in the US to 99 years in prison.
State District Judge Larry Mitchell announced Elizabeth Escalona's sentence at the end of a five-day hearing.
Prosecutor Eren Price, who originally offered Escalona a plea deal for 45 years, had argued that she now thought she deserved life.
Mitchell said his decision came down to one thing.
"On September 7th, 2011, you savagely beat your child to the edge of death," he said.
"For this you must be punished."
Escalona's other children told authorities their mother attacked two-year-old Jocelyn Cedillo because of potty training problems.
Police said she kicked her daughter in the stomach, beat her with a milk jug, then stuck her hands to an apartment wall with an adhesive commonly known as "super glue".
Jocelyn suffered bleeding in her brain, a fractured rib, multiple bruises and bite marks, a doctor testified. Some skin had been torn off her hands, where doctors also found glue residue and white paint chips from the apartment wall.
Escalona pleaded guilty in July to one count of felony injury to a child. Price said Escalona would be eligible to apply for parole in 30 years.
"I think everybody has obstacles in their life and the day that the justice system sends the message to people with obstacles that that becomes some excuse for your bad behaviour, for your poor choices, is the day that we should just open the doors of the jail up and let everybody out," said Price.
Escalona's attorney, Angie N'Duka, had asked for probation or a prison sentence shorter than 10 years. She argued that her client was the product of a broken home, abuse and a childhood that included illegal drugs and gangs.
"She's not evil, that's all I can tell you. Elizabeth Escalona is a child who never developed, who never had a childhood," N'Duka said.
Escalona's five children, including Jocelyn and a baby born after the attack, are in the care of their grandmother, Ofeila Escalona. She had asked for leniency for her daughter.
A sentence as long as 99 years is rare for felony injury to a child cases in Texas, but not unheard of.
According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, about 2,100 inmates are serving prison sentences for felony injury offences involving a child, elderly or disabled victim.
Just fewer than 5 percent of those inmates are serving sentences of 99 years or more, including life.