A 23-year-old Texas mum who super-glued her 2-year-old daughter’s hands to the wall and beat her for not adhering to potty training was on Friday sentenced to 99 years in prison by a court in Dallas.
Elizabeth Escalona had pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree injury to a child. She will be eligible for parole in 30 years.
After Friday’s judgement, prosecutor Eren Price who originally offered Escalona a plea deal for 45 years, had argued that she now thought the 23-year-old mother deserved life.
State District Judge Larry Mitchell pronounced the sentence at the end of a five-day hearing.
“On Sept. 7, 2011, you savagely beat your child to the edge of death,” Mitchell said. “For this you must be punished.”
The beating had left 2-year-old Jocelyn Cedillo in a coma for a couple of days, with her other children telling authorities their mother attacked Jocelyn due to potty training problems. Police say 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.
As a result, 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.
Defense attorney Angie N’Duka said afterwards that the sentence was “way too harsh” and suggested the widespread attention her client’s case had received contributed to the sentence.
“It’s a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure on the parties,” N’Duka said.
Reacting to that, prosecutor Eren Price said maybe she could have escaped with 45 years had she taken the deal she offered, but her rejection of deal gave way to more evidence.
“We feel like the judge listened very carefully to a very difficult week of testimony, and we feel like he did exactly what the evidence called for,” Price said.
“The 45-year recommendation was for somebody who was going to take ownership of what she did, appreciate what she caused,” Price said.
Sending her to prison for decades would protect her children’s future, Price argued.
“You can give Jocelyn and her brothers and sister peace,” she said. “You can give them peace, so that when they’re sitting around the dinner table at Thanksgiving with their big family, they’re not worried that their mother is going to come walking through the door.”
Escalona’s five children, including Jocelyn and a baby born after the attack, are in the care of their grandmother, Ofeila Escalona.