“A mother was sentenced after her guilty plea to Second Degree Murder in the death of her nine year old daughter, as reported in the September 19, 2012 NBC digital edition of the news.
The story described a daughter who suffered an agonizing 17 months of continued strangling, kicks, burns and punches after she moved from the custody of her father to that of her mother. Her final days were a “slow and painful death.”
The mother was sentenced to 15 years to life in State Prison. Without knowing more, it is a challenge for anyone to know and understand what was going on in the mother’s mind.
These homicides are the types of cases that a criminal attorney has to fully investigate in order to shape a defense, which does not mean one seeks to deny and/or excuse the behavior. Instead, the defendant’s attorney hopes to present to the court any mitigation and extenuating circumstances that exist when imposing punishment. For some, there could be no amount of evidence to persuade them to have mercy in a murder case. For others, there is a desire to understand the Defendant’s family history, her childhood, education, the victim, and finally the offender’s mental state so the punishment fits the crime. In other cases, the court looks only to the statutes and precedent in imposing a penalty.
While the child has lost her life, the mother will likely never escape the constant guilt of killing her daughter, a homicide that is unspeakable by nearly everyone’s account.”
SAM SPITAL, Criminal Defense Lawyer