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Two life sentences for mom convicted in daughter's death

September 17, 2012 12:45:30 PM PDT
A jury Monday handed down two life sentences to a mother convicted in the death of her 4-year-old daughter.

There were no witnesses in the sentencing phase of Maciel Sandoval's trial, only statements from both sides.

The child's father had been hoping the jury would sentence Sandoval to life, the maximum sentence, and he got his wish on Monday afternoon.

Last week, jurors found Sandoval guilty of felony murder and injury to a child by omission in the death of her daughter, Betsabeth. The jury believed Sandoval was responsible for the bruises, cuts and fractures found on the child's body when she died in June 2011, and guilty of failing to help her child when she was hurt.

The autopsy showed evidence of both recent and older injuries, indicating the child endured ongoing abuse. Prosecutors asked the jury to remember that "Abby," as the family called Betsabeth, endured "day after day of hitting, of striking."

Maciel Sandoval claimed it was not her, but her live-in female partner, Judith Herrera-Garcia, who had abused the little girl.

Horacio Ramos is Betsabeth's father. He had told us the punishment should be as harsh as possible for anyone who hurts a child. He has two other little girls, ages eight and two, and says it is an ongoing nightmare to try to explain what happened to their sister.

"It hurts me just by my daughters asking me if they can play with their own sister," he said. "I have my other daughter and she asks me, 'Is there any way you could get Abby to play with me for just one day' and that hurts me, too."

Sandoval's attorney asked the jury to have mercy on his client, asking them to, "Look at what she did do. She took her to the doctor dozens of times...She tried to administer CPR."

Both sentences for Sandoval will run concurrently. She will be eligible for parole in 30 years.

Sandoval's former partner, Elida Marisol Herrera-Garcia, is charged with murder and injury to a child causing serious bodily injury and is scheduled to go on trial at a later date.

The child's father says she also deserves to go to prison for life.


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