Maria Guaman-Guaman, 24, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and an additional five years of post-release supervision by Justice William Kelly for the strangling death of her child, who was dubbed “Baby Angel” by authorities. Though prosecutors recommended a sentence of 15 years in the plea agreement, Kelly handed down a relatively lenient sentence due to Guaman-Guaman’s impoverished living situation and mental retardation.
Guaman-Guaman, an Ecuadorian immigrant, gave birth to a full-term baby boy on November 12, 2013 and strangled him to death during what Kelly and Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe both characterized as an “extreme emotional disturbance.” After this, she dumped the body in a recycling bin outside a Spring Valley Convenience store.
The infant’s body was found later that day by a worker at Brookfield Recycling in Elmsford, New York. Authorities were able to use lottery tickets found in the same bin to trace the crime back to Rockland, where DNA canvassing efforts by Spring Valley Police identified Guaman-Guaman as the mother. She was arrested on December 10.
Guaman-Guaman’s lenient sentence was due in part to her mental retardation, which was confirmed by independent Psychiatrist Marc E. Tarle. According to him, she had a full-scale IQ of 53 due to brain damage sustained after being kicked in the head by a horse at the age of seven.
It was also found that the defendant was in a particularly difficult living situation, living in poverty with her three year old daughter and other relatives while working a high- job.
Tarle concluded along with Dr. Dominic Ferro, another psychiatrist hired by the prosecution, that an emotional disturbance caused Guaman-Guaman to kill her child. According to Guaman-Guaman’s own testimony, “the devil entered her body” and caused her to kill the baby.
Kelly upheld the majority of the sentence outlined in the plea deal, agreeing with her defense that Guaman-Guaman was not entirely in control of herself when she killed her son.
As part of the plea deal, Guaman-Guaman will face deportation at the end of her sentence.