Mom gets 20 years in daughter's death

HOUSTON Those jurors deliberated for about an hour and a half Tuesday afternoon following closing arguments in the trial of Abigail Young, and returned a sentence of 20 years and a $10,000 fine. With good behavior, Young could get out of prison in five years.

Young was found guilty Monday of failing to protect her 4-year-old daughter from repeated physical and sexual abuse last year, allegedly at the hands of Young's boyfriend, Lucas Coe.

After the sentence was read, Emma's father, Ben Thompson, and his mother read victim impact statements.

Ben Thompson yelled in the direction of Young, "She was four years old. She had her whole life in front of her and you took that away from her."

Thompson's paternal grandmother also talked during the victim impact statement.

"Our hearts are broken for the loss of our Emma," she said. "She'll never be a Brownie. She'll never bring a report card home. She'll never get to go to first grade."

The Thompsons hoped that Young would get life in prison, but the jury handed down a verdict of the lesser charge.

Earlier Tuesday

During the punishment phase, Young's mother was on the stand testifying for the defense.

Only after repeated cross-examination by the prosecutor did Margie Young, Abigail's mother, finally half-agree with the coroner's report that listed the massive injuries to her granddaughter's body, but still insisted something else led to her death, and defended Abigail Young repeatedly.

"She says Emma died of a blow to her abdomen, her pancreas was severed," she said. "But there were some other things. She had been sick all that day."

Earlier Tuesday, the state called two witnesses -- a CPS case worker and the victim's father, Ben Thompson.

Emma's father wept as he told stories about taking his little girl to Hannah Montana concerts and watching movies with her. He made reference to his happy life when Emma was alive.

His ex-wife was convicted Monday of recklessly causing injury to a child by omission, for failing to protect four-year-old Emma from severe physical and sexual assault by Lucas Coe, Young's boyfriend at the time.

Coe goes on trial in September. He is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child for his alleged role in Emma's death. Emma died last June of multiple injuries, including a fractured skull.

During Ben Thompson's testimony, prosecutors showed the jury a picture of Emma riding on her father's back. In between sobs, Thompson described his child by saying, "If I had to pick a word to describe Emma it would be sweet. She wanted to make you happy. She was very easy to please."

He added, "She was very, very smart. She would try to put puzzles together and if I tried to help her, she would say, 'No, Daddy, I do it.'"

Abigail Young faces up to 20 years in prison. Because Young does not have a criminal history, she will be eligible for probation.

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