Glen Burnie mother sentenced for beating death of 2-week-old girl

Woman gets 12-year term for what judge calls a `vicious and horrendous assault'

February 06, 2007|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN REPORTER

A Glen Burnie mother who fatally beat her 2-week-old daughter and blamed her toddler son for what an Anne Arundel County judge yesterday called the "vicious and horrendous assault" was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Judge Joseph P. Manck handed down a sentence of 30 years in prison to Arkia L. Douglas, but suspended 18 years, complying with the terms of a plea agreement. It said prosecutors could not request more than a dozen years' incarceration for killing her 13-day-old daughter, La'Monica, on Aug. 2, 2005.

"I feel really bad. If I could bring her back, I would give myself for her," Douglas, 23, whimpered when she addressed Manck.

La'Monica suffered several skull fractures, hemorrhaging around the brain, the type of eye damage that signals shaken baby syndrome, and a fingernail partly pried from the nail bed. Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital stopped cataloguing her injuries because there were too many.

La'Monica's death was among five killings of youngsters in a 20-month period in the county, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the homicides. That spurred prosecutors to start working with a hospital to add abuse prevention to a prenatal program.

Douglas's lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Karl Gordon, described his client, who lived with her mother and mother's boyfriend, as emotionally impaired and intellectually limited.

But Deputy State's Attorney Laura S. Kiessling said Douglas had told a defense psychiatrist that she had left her children unattended to smoke marijuana. She later silenced La'Monica's cries by beating and shaking the baby before placing the limp and naked infant in a swing and going to sleep.

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