VISTA, Calif. — A mother who failed to take her nearly 6-week-old daughter to the doctor after the baby was injured in their Escondido home, ending in the child’s death two weeks later, was sentenced Friday to four years probation and ordered to do 200 hours of volunteer work.
Jessica Trahan, 32, was convicted of misdemeanor child abuse in connection with the events that led up to her daughter Willow’s death three years ago.
Trahan’s husband, Lee Trahan, was convicted of assault of a child causing death and faces a possible sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.
Vista Superior Court Judge Harry Elias told Jessica Trahan that losing parental rights to Willow’s twin brother has been punishment already.
“I’m sure you’re reminded of this (tragedy) every day,” the judge said.
Deputy District Attorney Michelle Ialeggio unsuccessfully argued that the mother’s inactions were on the “far end” of neglect, supporting a custodial sentence of 90 days in jail.
Friday’s scheduled sentencing for Lee Trahan — a former Miramar-based Marine — was delayed because his attorney filed a motion challenging the jury’s verdict.
Attorney Brian J. White is seeking more information on possible jury misconduct after two jurors submitted written declarations following the verdict. Lee Trahan was acquitted on a second-degree murder charge.
Lee Trahan, 27, testified that was holding Willow and preparing to feed her about 3 a.m. on April 24, 2012, when he felt her start to roll from his grasp. He said he took a step forward and he and the baby ran into a door frame.
Trahan said he and his wife decided not to take their daughter to the hospital.
Three days later, the baby stopped breathing and was rushed to the hospital. Ten days after that, she died. A deputy medical examiner testified that the child died from blunt force trauma to the head.
White said his client was a loving father to his twins and his wife’s daughter from a previous relationship. The defense attorney said the death of Willow’s brain cells could have been the result of medical personnel failing to insert a breathing tube into her throat, depriving her of oxygen for several minutes.
Ialeggio said the frustration of caring for twins who were born premature took its toll on the couple. As a result, the prosecutor said, they made “huge parenting mistakes.”
Elias will consider Lee Trahan’s motion on April 30.