A Dallas woman who beat her 2-year-old daughter and glued the toddler's hands to a wall was sentenced Friday to 99 years in prison by a judge who described his decision as a necessary punishment for a brutal, shocking attack.
Elizabeth Escalona, 23, did not immediately react as State District Judge Larry Mitchell pronounced the sentence at the end of a five-day hearing. Prosecutor Eren Price, who originally offered Escalona a plea deal for 45 years, had argued that she now thought the mother deserved life.
Mitchell said his decision came down to one thing. "On Sept. 7, 2011, you savagely beat your child to the edge of death," he said. "For this you must be punished."
The beating left Jocelyn Cedillo in a coma for a couple of days.
Escalona's other children told authorities their mother attacked Jocelyn due to potty training problems. Escalona's five children, including Jocelyn and a baby born after the attack, are in the care of their grandmother, Ofeila Escalona.
Police say Escalona kicked Jocelyn in the stomach, beat her with a milk jug, then stuck her hands to an apartment wall with an adhesive commonly known as Super Glue.
Jocelyn suffered bleeding in her brain, a fractured rib, bruises and bite marks, a doctor testified. Some skin had been torn off her hands, where doctors found glue residue and white paint chips from the apartment wall.
Escalona pleaded guilty in July to one count of felony injury to a child. She will be eligible to apply for parole in 30 years.
A sentence as long as 99 years is rare for felony injury to a child cases in Texas, but not unheard of, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Defense attorney Angie N'Duka said afterward that the sentence was "way too harsh" and suggested the widespread attention her client's case had received contributed to the sentence.