Texas mom gets 99 years for gluing toddler to wall, beating her
Elizabeth Escalona, 23, will be eligible to ask for parole in 30 years. She pleaded guilty in July to a charge of first-degree injury to a child, a crime punishable by anywhere between probation and life in prison.
“This mom was pure evil, and her children are better off without her,” prosecutor Eren Price said after a judge delivered Friday’s sentence. “Her five kids now have a chance to lead a productive life.”
Escalona’s attorney said that the sentence was excessive and that an appeal would be filed, CNN affiliate KTVT reported.
Escalona’s daughter Jocelyn Cedillo was less than two months shy of her 3rd birthday in September 2011 when Escalona used a powerful adhesive to glue her hands to a wall and beat her because of potty training troubles, authorities said. Three other children belonging to Escalona, who was pregnant at the time, witnessed the abuse, according to Dallas County district attorney’s office spokeswoman Debbie Denmon.
The child urinated on herself during the ordeal, during which she was hit in head and kicked in the groin, among other forms of abuse, Denmon said.
Oefelia Escalona, the defendant’s mother, testified during her daughter’s sentencing hearing this week that she found the girl and took her to a hospital. Once Jocelyn was there, medical authorities noticed severe bruises to her face and head, as well as a severe brain injury that led to her temporarily being in a coma.
At this week’s sentencing hearing, prosecutors showed pictures of Jocelyn’s hands and bruised body and forehead.
“The entire picture was very shocking,” said Dr. Amy Barton, then a child abuse pediatrician at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, choking back tears on the stand on Monday. “I see a lot of children, and this was one of the most shocking cases that I have seen.”
Escalona asked for leniency during her sentencing hearing this week, saying she behaved like a monster but deserved a second chance, KTVT reported. Her mother asked the judge to sentence Elizabeth to probation, according to KTVT.
Price initially offered a plea bargain of 45 years in prison, but Escalona turned it down, the district attorney’s office said.
Price said that the judge, after learning more about Escalona during the hearing, was justified in sentencing her to more time.
“Elizabeth Escalona wasn’t sorry for what she did to 2-year-old Jocelyn. Elizabeth Escalona felt sorry for herself,” Price said. “Those tears on the stand were for her and not for the toddler she tortured.”
An attempt to reach Escalona’s attorney for comment Friday was not immediately successful.
Before this incident, Escalona had been investigated by Texas Child Protective Services but never arrested or charged, Denmon said.
The child welfare agency put all of her children in foster care after Jocelyn was taken to the hospital. All five of them, including Jocelyn, are now in the custody of their grandmother, Oefelia Escalona.