A 33-year-old Jarrettsville woman today pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court to beating her 7-week-old daughter to death Feb. 12.
Deborah L. Sennett, of the 1400 block of Rock Ridge Road, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and,in exchange, prosecutors dropped the charge of first-degree murder, child abuse and other counts against her. Judge Alfred L. Brennan Sr., who accepted the guilty plea, said he would allow Sennett to remain free on $100,000 bail until her sentencing, which the judge set for Dec. 16.
Second-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, but because of the plea bargain, the most Sennett will face is 20 years in prison.
Scott Shellenberger, an assistant state's attorney who prosecuted the case, said Sennett's story of what happened and her guilty plea exonerates her husband, Thomas, who also had been charged with murder.
Those charges against Thomas Sennett, 35, were withdrawn today.
Shellenberger read an agreed-upon statement of facts into the court record in support of Deborah Sennett's guilty plea.
Sennett, according to the statement, had been drinking all day Feb. 12 and in the evening, her daughter, Amanda, began crying.
"Deborah became enraged," Shellenberger said, reading the statement. She "picked the baby up with one hand and began striking her with the open palm of her free hand." The infant was struck between five and nine times and her head struck against the crib at least once, Shellenberger said.