A mother who glued her two-year-old daughter’s hands to a wall and beat the toddler so badly that she fell into a coma was sentenced to 99 years in prison in Dallas today.
Elizabeth Escalona, 23, showed no emotion when the verdict was announced which was in stark contrast to yesterday when she openly wailed after a prosecutor asked her to count the bruises she inflicted on her daughter in a photograph taken after the September 2011 attack.
Having already pleaded guilty to her crimes in July, Escalona testified extensively in her own defence and had asked the judge to spare her prison and to give her a second chance to redeem herself.
‘I hit her, I kicked her constantly, and she didn’t deserve that,’ said Escalona yesterday. ‘Only a monster does that.’
While accepting that Escalona may have had a history of sexual abuse in her past, District Judge Larry Mitchell said the simple fact remained of her vicious assault on her child.
‘You savagely beat your child to the edge of death,’ he said.
Dallas County prosecutor Eren Price said the 23-year-old mother of five had not taken responsibility for her actions.
‘Elizabeth lies to hide the evil,’ said Price.
Escalona’s other children told authorities that their mother attacked Jocelyn Cedillo in September 2011 due to potty training problems.
Bruises: She hit the girl with enormous objects, including a jug, before dragging her across the floor
Police say she kicked her daughter 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, multiple bruises and bite marks, and was in a coma for a couple of days, a doctor testified at the sentencing hearing.
Some skin had been torn off her hands, where doctors also found glue residue and white paint chips from the apartment wall.
‘On Sept. 7, 2011, you savagely beat your child to the edge of death,” State District Judge Larry Mitchell said. ‘For this you must be punished.’
Jocelyn has since recovered and her grandmother now cares for her along with Elizabeth Escalona’s four other children, including a baby born this year.
Prosecutors portrayed Escalona as an unfit mother with a history of violence. They played recordings in which Escalona as a teenager threatened to kill her mother. They said she had been a gang member and that she started smoking marijuana at age 11.
Torture: Photographs shown in the court depict Jocelyn’s bleeding hands after they were glued to the wall
Horror: Dallas police officer Abel Lopez sits by a display showing a photo of Jocelyn’s little hand prints on a wall
‘Only a monster glues her daughter’s hands to the wall,’ Price said during the hearing.
Escalona had faced from probation to life in prison. Prosecutors initially sought a 45-year sentence, but during closing arguments Price said she wanted Escalona to be sentenced to life in prison.
Defense attorney Angie N’Duka repeated that Escalona was not a monster and that she was deserving of probation or a short sentence.
‘She is no monster. She can be redeemed. She can be helped,’ N’Duka said during closing arguments.
N’Duka said Escalona asked, ‘What about my children?’ after the sentence was announced.
Price said Escalona will be eligible for parole in 30 years. N’Duka said she plans to appeal.
Yesterday in court Elizabeth Escalona told a Judge Mitchell: ‘I will never forgive myself for what I did to my own daughter. I want everybody to know I’m not a monster. I love my kids.’
The words shown on an overhead display were written by prosecutor Eren Price, (left) and were shown in court as an emotional Elizabeth Escalona, 23, responds to a line of questioning in court yesterday
Elizabeth Escalona, 23, breaks down as she looks at a monitor in front of her displaying photos of her injured daughter Jocelyn Cedilo yesterday
Police say Escalona lost her temper last year with Jocelyn Cedillo over potty training problems. Escalona beat and kicked Jocelyn before sticking her hands to an apartment wall using an adhesive commonly known as Super Glue. The child was hospitalized for days.
A counselor earlier claimed that a woman who glued her two-year-old daughter’s hands to a wall and beat the toddler so badly that she suffered significant brain trauma loves her children.
Melanie Davis testified on Wednesday in the case of Elizabeth Escalona, a 23-year-old mother of five from Dallas who admitted to the attack in July. Prosecutors are now seeking a 45-year jail sentence.
But Davis said she has been counseling the mother, who beat her daughter Jocelyn after losing her temper over potty training, since June and believes that she loves all of her children.
She said that Escalona is determined to find a job and eventually get her children, who are living with their grandmother, back to her own home.
The testimony came as Escalona’s sister also pleaded with the judge to be lenient in his sentencing, even though she acknowledged her own outrage following the grisly attack.
Attacker: On the day of the attack Escalona, pictured left in her mug shot, changed her Facebook profile photo to one of her and Jocelyn (right) and wrote: ‘Why does God put obstacles in my life?’
Sentence: Prosecutors are seeking a 45-year jail sentence against the mother of five from Dallas
Margaret Escalona said she wanted to beat up her sister after the attack, and described seeing Jocelyn struggling for her life. But she says her sister ‘needs help’ rather than a lengthy sentence.
It also follows testimony on Monday from Escalona’s mother who said her daughter was ‘not a monster’ and that she deserves probation, insisting her daughter could be ‘fixed’.
On Monday, a doctor, Dr Amy Barton, also revealed the extent of the horrifying injuries to the young girl, who has since recovered.
The girl was rushed to hospital after Escalona called her mother and said there was something wrong with her daughter. When the child’s grandmother got to the house, the girl was unresponsive.
Dr Barton showed photos of the beaten child in court showing her bruises, cuts and bite marks all over her body shortly after she was brought to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.
Some of her hair had been pulled out and there was glue in her eyelashes and on her hands. Glue and paint were stuck to her palms, with skin torn away in places, the police report noted.
The toddler was in a coma for two days after the September 7, 2011, incident.
Police records show the toddler’s siblings told investigators their mother repeatedly kicked the girl in the stomach, hit her with a milk jug and then beat her with a shoe and belt.
Escalona then dragged her daughter by her feet before gluing her hands to the wall until they bled.
Dr Barton, a child abuse pediatrician who worked at the hospital at the time, cried when she testified about the injuries, according to the Dallas Morning News.
‘The entire picture was very shocking,’ she said. ‘I see a lot of children and this was one of the most shocking things that I’ve seen.’
The section of the wall the toddler’s hands were glued to was cut out and presented to the court.
Escalona, who stayed silent in court, previously said of the case: ‘I have no comment, and only God can judge me. That’s all I gotta say.’
Police said that numerous people had seen the suspect inflict pain on her daughter in the past.
On the day of the attack Escalona changed her Facebook profile photo to one of her and Jocelyn and wrote: ‘Why does God put obstacles in my life?’
The girl has recovered from her injuries. She and her siblings were taken into state custody after their mother’s arrest and now live with their grandmother.