In Texas, a 34-year-old man has pleaded guilty for injury to a child after crushing the head of a foster baby. According to the Statesman Newspaper, Jacob Salas was initially only charged with injury to a child but it was later upgraded to capital murder.
Unbelievably, he admitted to authorities that he placed the head of Orien Destany Hamilton between his knee and the floor, crushing her skull. However, originally he called the child’s aunt and said the baby had choked on a French fry. That wasn’t true and doctors who examined the child’s body found signs of abuse.
The incident occurred in 2013 and Salas has now accepted a plea deal of 30-years in prison. Unfortunately, the attorney’s involved in the case didn’t contact Hamilton’s birth mother, Emily Fant, before offering Salas the plea. Salas has three other children with Hamilton’s aunt and was asked to watch the baby when she was called in to work. Fant believes the charge is unacceptable and wants Salas to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
She said, “Thirty years? They’re going to give him 30 years for capital murder of a baby? What is wrong with this system?”
In 2012, Hamilton had been removed from her San Antonio home by the Department of Family and Protective after her mother was accused of using methamphetamines. Robert Leal, the senior vice president of foster care and adoption at Lutheran Social Services of the South, explained that Hamilton was born with drugs in her system, and had been in the care of her aunt in what he called a “kinship placement.”
After the child’s murder, Lutheran Social Services said, “We’re heartbroken that this happened. Our mission, philosophy and purpose is to do everything we can to protect the safety of children.” Apparently the prosecutor involved in the case, Elizabeth Whited, had made the plea offer right before she left office.
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Salas’ defense attorney, Jeremiah Williams added, “He’s adamant, and completely truthful in my opinion, that there was no intent. There was no maliciousness towards that little baby and he is devastated for the family.”
The Williamson County District Attorney, Jana Duty, explained why Salas was given such a light sense. She said, “The new prosecutor felt obligated to honor the plea offer. Elizabeth Whited was one of my toughest prosecutors. If she felt 30 years was an appropriate sentence after she evaluated all of the evidence, I trust her judgment.”