NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The mother of a little girl who was beaten, starved and drugged has been sentenced to 32 years to life in prison. Carlotta Brett-Pierce was convicted of murder last month in the death of 4-year-old Marchella Pierce.
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports
She told the court before the sentencing Wednesday that she was not responsible for her daughter’s death.
“I do accept responsibility, but I do not accept responsibility for my daughter’s actual death because I did not kill her,” she said, breaking down in tears.
Brett-Pierce said she lacked the education, skill and money to care for an ailing child.
“Don’t get me wrong, I made bad choices. That is part of being human,” she said. “I really needed help.
The judge did not want to hear it and gave her the maximum for murder — 25 years to life while adding on another seven years to the minimum for assault.
The grandmother, Loretta Brett, was convicted of manslaughter. The judge gave her five to fifteen years as observers were stunned to learn the she had a degree in sociology from Hunter College, CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reported.
“This is a great loss and I am deeply saddened by her passing,” said Brett.
When police found Marchella on Sept. 2, 2010, she had 60 adult doses of Claritin and 30 doses of Benadryl in her system. Her stomach contained one kernel of corn. She weighed 18.8 pounds, half the weight of an average child her age.
At the sentencing Wednesday, Judge Patricia DiMango said Brett-Pierce showed a calloused lack of care for her daughter and other children who were witness to the abuse. Brett-Pierce’s 7-year-old son, Tymel, testified in court that his sister wasn’t often fed.
“Food, water and basic human parenting could have kept her alive,” DiMango said.
Two child welfare caseworkers have also been charged in the girl’s death, among the first social workers in the country to be held criminally responsible for the death of a child on their watch.
They have pleaded not guilty.
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