Jarrettsville mother sentenced for fatal beating of her infant daughter.


December 16, 1991|By Meredith Schlow | Meredith Schlow,Evening Sun Staff

A 33-year-old Jarrettsville woman today was sentenced to six years in prison for beating her 7-week-old daughter to death Feb. 12.

In imposing a 12-year sentence and then suspending six years, Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Alfred L. Brennan Sr. noted the family members and friends who had come to show support for Deborah L. Sennett, who in November pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

"I hope the support they show will be taken home . . . and when they are faced with the opportunity to offer a friend or a family member a drink, and that person has a problem with alcohol, they will understand why it is important not to do so," Brennan said.

Sennett, an alcoholic, was drinking heavily on the day her daughter, Amanda, was killed.

"I just want to say that I am sorry about all that happened," she said softly before hearing her sentence. "I'm here and I'm facing you and my biggest goal is to get my life straight and get back and be a family again."

Scott Shellenberger, an assistant state's attorney who prosecuted the case, argued that Sennett had "gained the benefit of all the alcohol in this case" for it eliminated any possibility of specific intent, meaning she could not be prosecuted for first-degree murder.

Though Shellenberger said he recognized that Sennett would have to live the rest of her life with the knowledge of having killed her baby, "our society has determined that internal punishment is not enough."

"The external punishment must be incarceration. Not for the sake of her, but for the baby that she killed."

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