Friday, July 19, 2013
An El Dorado mom is going to prison for a little more than two-and-a-half years in connection with the March 2012 death of her 18-month-old daughter.
Authorities called the death of Jayla Haag child abuse. Friday, Alyssa Haag was sentenced to 31 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
The 31-month sentence was part of a plea bargain. Haag was originally charged with first-degree murder in the baby girl's death, but she pleaded guilty in May to involuntary manslaughter in exchange for the sentence handed down friday.
Two of the people speaking at Friday's hearing urged Butler County District Court Judge David Ricke to impose a tougher sentence.
"I will never get the chance to spoil her in any way that an aunt can do," said Stacy Lewis, the aunt of Jayla Haag's father.
Lewis urged Judge Ricke to impose the maximum sentence allowed for involuntary manslaughter, arguing Alyssa Haag did not do enough to prevent the death of the 18-month-old.
"Alyssa failed Jayla in the worst way possible," Lewis said. "She has robbed my family as well as her own of the joys of watching a beautiful girl grow up."
A coroner said the little girl had extensive bruising, several burn scars and was missing six teeth.
Wendy Vittitow spoke for her son, Jayla's father, in urging the judge to impose a tougher sentence than the one called for in the plea agreement.
"We don't want to be sad when we think of Jayla," she told the court. "But right now, it's hard to get the images of what happened to her out of our minds."
Alyssa's mother, Marci Beatty, described her as a loving and caring person who knows she should have done more to prevent her daughter's death. She supported the 31-month sentence.
"There's not a day that goes by that she does not miss Jayla," Beatty said. "There's not a day that goes by she doesn't wish she could change things, like we all do."
Judge Ricke said he had no doubt that Jayla's death has caused Alyssa much pain. However, he said, she had to be held accountable.
"Because you didn't do what you needed to do as a mother to protect and care for your baby," Ricke said. "And because of that she died. A true tragedy."
Haag was also sentenced to complete two years of supervised release once she has served her prison term. Her boyfriend was also originally charged with first-degree murder in the case, but those charges were dismissed without prejudice in September. That leaves the door open for prosecutors to file new charges against him in connection with the case.
The Associated Press contributed to this report