Jury deliberates punishment in microwave trial

GALVESTON, TX Prosecutors want /*Joshua Mauldin*/ be sentenced to life in prison for stuffing his daughter Ana in a microwave and turning it on for 10 to 20 seconds. Just before that, he had punched the then 2-month-old child and placed her in a Galveston hotel-room safe and refrigerator

[IMAGES: Photos shown in court of child who had been placed in microwave]

His defense attorney asked for probation so his client could continue receiving psychiatric treatment.

Jurors resumed deliberating Mauldin's punishment on Wednesday. They worked for 21/2 hours Tuesday without reaching a decision.

The jury convicted Mauldin Tuesday of felony injury to a child, not believing his claim he was having a psychotic episode when he put his daughter in his hotel room's microwave in May 2007.

Mauldin had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Galveston County prosecutor Xochitl Vandiver said Mauldin had given his daughter a life sentence of physical and emotional scars. Ana suffered second- and third-degree burns to her left ear, cheek, hand and shoulder and required two skin grafts. Part of her left ear had to be amputated.

"She will always for the rest of her life be reminded just by looking in a mirror," Vandiver said.

Prosecutors said Mauldin was angry that he was in a loveless marriage and took it out on his daughter.

They also said Mauldin had a history of violence and of lying about being mentally ill to get out of trouble.

But Mauldin's defense attorney, Sam Cammack III, said Mauldin has been wracked by mental illness since he was 10 and asked for probation so he could continue receiving treatment.

Michael Fuller, a psychiatrist who examined Mauldin, testified he could not conclude Mauldin was insane at the time of the crime.

However, Fuller on Tuesday said Mauldin was not violent and would benefit from receiving treatment outside of prison.

"Let's give the kid the rest of his life in prison for hurting his child when we can't explain what happened? Don't do that," Cammack told jurors.

Mauldin's mother, Joanie, pleaded for mercy.

"There is no way someone in their right mind would do something like that," Joanie Mauldin told jurors, crying.

Heather Croxton, Ana's foster mother, testified the little girl, now 1, screams during the daily process of cleaning the wounds, and endures physical therapy five days a week. She lives with Croxton and her family in College Station.

Croxton, whose husband is a step-cousin to the girl's mother, Eva Mauldin, said Ana will continue having surgeries to remove scar tissue and that her left ear can't be reconstructed until she is older.

But Croxton was more worried about the day Ana's finds out what happened to her.

"As far as telling her the truth ... I don't see how we cannot tell her. She's going to want to know how she got those scars," Croxton said as she cried.

Croxton said she hopes to adopt Ana.

A trial to terminate the Mauldins' parental rights is scheduled for April.

Eva Mauldin refused defense attorneys' requests to testify and continues to live in Arkansas.

When Ana was injured, Mauldin and his family had just moved to Galveston, about 50 miles southeast of Houston, from Warren, Ark., so he could become a preacher.

Mauldin at first told police his daughter had been severely sunburned, later changing his story and saying he had accidentally spilled hot water on her while making coffee.

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