A Rockford woman gets nearly the maximum for her role in her infant daughter's death. The judge says his strong sentence was because Tina LaMonica's past behavior showed she could not stop her criminal behavior. The defense was pushing for probation the state wanted at least 10 years but the judge decided even more time was necessary.
"The defendant is sentenced to the Illinois Department of Corrections for 12 years," says Judge Ronald White, 17th Judicial Circuit Court.
Judge White gave Tina LaMonica a dozen years for involuntary manslaughter. She pleaded guilty to avoid a murder charge for the death of her 7 day-old daughter named Gia. The defense had argued LaMonica was addicted to cocaine and did not set out to kill her child with her drug use. But the state says LaMonica was told exactly what would happen if she left the hospital in pre-term labor. And instead of staying to get help LaMonica went and got more drugs. Then delivered a cocaine addicted little girl.
"Your chronic cocaine addiction not only controlled your life but the death of baby Gia. Unfortunately how sad this case is," says Judge WHilte.
LaMonica says when her daughter was born she had hope and wanted to turn her life around for Gia. She pleaded for leniency saying she has to live with her daughter's death every day.
"I felt in my heart that I let my daughter down when I did not do everything," says LaMonica.
But the state says LaMonica left the hospital when her daughter was born leaving it up to doctors to decide baby Gia needed emergency surgery before she died from the effect of maternal cocaine use.
"We seek as an office who serves the community to protect the victims, this being a child who was being deprived the right to live because of the reckless conduct of her mother," says Marilyn Hite-Ross, Winnebago County Deputy State's Attorney.
A Rockford woman was sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday for the death of her infant daughter.
Tina LaMonica plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter in August of this year. Prosecutors say she is responsible for the January 2012 death of her seven-day-old daughter because of LaMonica's alleged cocaine use while pregnant.
Testimony showed doctors told LaMonica she or her child could die if LaMonica left the hospital. Instead, she checked herself out and gave birth to the child a week later. The baby had cocaine in her system and spent the seven days of her life in the Intensive Care Unit with respiratory issues.
WREX's Rebecca Klopf was in the court room and will have more on this case on 13 News at 5 & 6.
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