Mother accused of intentionally hurting her baby sentenced to 13 years

Published: Aug. 9, 2013 at 12:37 PM MST|Updated: Aug. 28, 2013 at 9:31 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A Tucson mother will spend more than a decade behind bars after being convicted of child abuse.

Prosecutors accused 23-year-old Blanca Montano of intentionally making her baby sick.

A jury found her guilty in May.

Friday she learned her sentence.

Blanca Montano could have received 17 years on the child abuse conviction, but the judge said he considered some mitigating factors, meaning reasons not to give her the maximum.

He sentenced her to 13 years.

Montano had been emotional throughout the sentencing, but began crying again when the judge read the sentence.

Some of her supporters in court, and she had many, began weeping too.

Montano has maintained her innocence, but declined to speak at her sentencing.

The prosecution says she intentionally made her baby daughter sick, infecting her over and over again with fecal and other bacteria,  as the child lay in the hospital.

The prosecutor says Montano did it to get the attention of the child's father and to win him back.

Hospital staff eventually put a camera in the child's room to try to figure out why the child would get better, then get very sick again.

That recording was entered into evidence.

At the sentencing hearing, the judge asked the prosecutor if he thought the maximum sentence of 17 years would be appropriate.

"I do, based on the conduct, Judge. This is not a one-time, I lost my temper and I hurt my child and I'm very sorry about it.  This is a repeated--it's not only repeated conduct, but it's repeated conduct with absolutely no remorse," answered Ryan Schmidt, the prosecutor.

"The number of infections that the victim suffered. The number of times she came close to death. The tests that were performed on her. The number of doctors that were involved in her treatment. They all had an obviously significant impact on the victim," Schmidt said.

Defense attorney Paul Skitzki asked the judge not to hold the lack of remorse against Montano.

"Ms Montano, because she's maintained her innocence, she continues to maintain her innocence and she has the right to appeal, I'm asking the court not to hold that acceptance of responsibility or lack of remorse--she can't do that. And that's based on my advice, Judge.  So you can't hold that against her."

Skitzki asked For the minimum sentence of ten years.

"10 years, Judge--and it's flat time--is more than sufficient for what's going on when you take into consideration all of the factors that circle around here. And, Judge, we would ask you to have mercy on her. We would ask you to take her life, her experience into consideration," Skitzki said.

He said Montano grew up in a dysfunctional family situation and described her as having limited intellectual abilities.

In the end, Judge Scott Rash decided on the 13 year sentence.

Montano's attorney says there will be an appeal.

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