A Chicago woman who struck her newborn baby;s head so hard she fractured her skull and killed her has been sentenced to 29 months in prison.
According to news reports, Alyce Morales learned her punishment on Tuesday in Benzie County Circuit Court after pleading guilty to manslaughter. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped the murder charge they filed.
Morales told the court that panic and fear gripped her after she gave birth in a tent while camping in July 2013. She says she struck herself before hitting her daughter with a blow that fractured the infant’s skull. She says she was “alone and scared” at the time and didn’t know what else to do.
Morales’ attorney Jesse Williams argued she was fearful she would be shunned by her family because of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy but Prosecutor Sara Swanson said Morales’ actions should have consequences.
Alyce Morales’ sobs hung in a Benzie County courtroom as she told a judge that panic gripped her after she secretly gave birth to a daughter in a tent.
Morales, 19, of Cicero, Illinois, said she felt sorry every day since July 22, 2013, for what happened next. She closed her fist and struck herself before hitting her daughter, Marie, with a blow that fractured the infant’s skull.
“I was in a really bad situation. I was alone and scared. I didn’t think anything was going to happen, so I panicked,” she said Tuesday. “I know that’s not an excuse for what happened.”
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Nineteenth Circuit Court Judge James Batzer crafted a sentence that puts Morales in prison for at least 29 months, but also gives her a chance to clear her record. Morales pleaded guilty to manslaughter after authorities ruled the infant’s death a homicide.
Benzie County Prosecutor Sara Swanson argued Morales’ actions should have consequences. She said she spoke for Marie Morales, but pointed out she didn’t have any stories to tell about the child and no pictures to show other than those taken at an autopsy.
“Although we don’t have memories to share and stories to tell about her, her life still has value,” she said. “She was only alive eight hours, and during that time she was beat and suffered. … She died a very brutal death.”