In 2011, Elizabeth Escalona, a 23-year old mother of five, allegedly attacked 2-year old daughter Jocelyn due to potty training problems. She kicked her in stomach, beat her with a milk jug, and glued her hands to an apartment wall with super glue, according to information brought at trial.
Jocelyn suffered brain bleeding, a fractured rib, bruises, and bite marks, according to doctor’s testimony. Some skin had been torn off her hands as a result of the glue. Glue residue was found on her hands, along with paint chips from the apartment wall. The girl was left in a coma for several days following her injuries. Jocelyn and her four siblings are now living in the protective care of their grandmother.
Escalona pled guilty to one count of felony injury to a child after she was originally offered a plea deal which included a 45 year prison sentence. The deal was withdrawn after the prosecuting attorney decided that Escalona was not taking responsibility for her actions or the amount of injury suffered by the child. The case went to trial.
Criminal defense attorney Angie N’Duka, while not wanting to minimize the injuries, asked for probation or a prison sentence shorter than 10 years, arguing that her client was subjected to abuse, a broken home, and a childhood that included illegal drugs and gang involvement. She also argued that justice for Jocelyn would include reuniting with her mother after Escalona was properly rehabilitated.
Judge Mitchell said that he believed that Escalona was abused as a child, but that he could not consider that evidence outside the context of the trial. Escalona was sentenced to 99 years in prison on the basis of protecting her child’s future. She will be eligible for parole in 30 years.
Criminal attorney N’Duka said the sentence was “way too harsh.” She suggested the amount of widespread knowledge of the case had contributed to the lengthy sentence. It is unknown at this time whether the sentence will be appealed.
If you or a loved one are charged with child abuse, child endangerment, or other felony assault/battery charges, contact Orange County criminal attorney Staycie R. Sena for an immediate consultation at (949) 477-8088.