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Gary woman sentenced to 50 years in death of foster youngster; defense said they will appeal – Chicago Tribune

A woman convicted of killing her 18-month-old foster youngster has been sentenced to 50 years in jail for the crime.

Except to answer “Yes” or “No” when Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez requested a question, Jamilia Shenese Hodge, 37, remained silent throughout her sentencing Wednesday. Her legal professional, Scott King, advised the court docket he suggested her not to give an announcement since she plans to appeal the sentence.

King, who requested that Vasquez sentence Hodge to the minimal of 45 years, said in his remarks that the whole thing of the proof in opposition to Hodge hinged solely upon the 6.5 hours Hodge was interrogated over two days, not on any accidents Hodges allegedly inflicted. While he revered the jury’s resolution, he said he didn’t agree with the decision.

“We have a defendant in this case where this was the first contact with police she’d ever had in any category,” King said. “A huge mitigating factor is a complete lack of interaction with the court.

“ (Hodge is) 37 years old and a mom of a 6-year-old, a young woman who didn’t just get barely through but who took classes in business and psychology. She worked and was the sole supporter of her household: her kid, foster kids and two grown men.”

King additionally said the large half of Hodge’s appeal will be strategies in which police interrogated her.

Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Jatkiewicz requested if the court docket was actually going to let Hodge decline to make an announcement, then said that the sufferer, Emma Salinas, deserved higher.

“What the court is left with is two aggravating factors: Emma’s age because she was defenseless, and the position of trust. Miss Hodge chose to take the kids on when they were removed from their mother’s care. She not only violated their mother’s trust, but she violated the trust of the state.”

Jatkiewicz, who requested that Hodge be sentenced to 60 years, said Hodge admitted to heavy marijuana use since she was 15 and reminded the court docket that Hodge spent extra time casting herself because the sufferer than exhibiting regret for the sufferer.

Vasquez said he doesn’t perceive how Hodge, who had no earlier contact with the legislation, might’ve killed Emma since nothing ever indicated she can be succesful. But he did agree that Hodge violated quite a bit of belief.

“You failed, and you failed horribly,” Vasquez said. “Your obligation was to bring her home, and it didn’t occur.”

Vasquez agreed that the state’s argument for the utmost sentence was legitimate however finally determined it wasn’t applicable. He sentenced her to 50 years with 5 years of probation after which lifetime parole.

Gary Detective Sgt. Ed Gonzalez and Ogden Dunes Police Chief Jeremy Ogden, who had been among the many officers who responded to the decision in 2017, attended the sentencing. (*50*) said they “had no words.”

“Thinking that Emma’s siblings walked past her in the morning and saw her lying there, not knowing anything was wrong, then being taken away by CPS after school, I’m at a loss for words,” Gonzalez said. “It was tragic for someone this young to have lost her life.”

“We’ll always see her lying there in her crib,” Ogden added.

Hodge advised police that Emma was one of 4 foster kids in her care. She referred to as 911 round 11:42 a.m. May 4 to report that the kid had died, in accordance to court docket information.

Autopsy findings confirmed the woman suffered a doable dislocation of vertebrae in her neck and died of asphyxia due to suffocation, which was sophisticated by blunt power trauma to the pinnacle. The youngster additionally had bleeding on the brain, the possible trigger affidavit states.

The forensic pathologist who carried out the post-mortem estimated the kid had been lifeless a minimum of 12 hours earlier than the 911 name, in accordance to court docket information.

In an interview with police, Hodge said she took two of her foster kids to faculty that morning, returned house to take a 3rd youngster to faculty and got here again house round 8 a.m., when she seen Emma’s face was going through the wall in the identical position as when Hodge left, in accordance to the possible trigger affidavit.

Emma had arrived house round 7:30 p.m. May 2 from visiting her organic mom, who complained the kid was sick with a fever and diarrhea, information state.

Hodge’s boyfriend returned to the Miller house round midnight May 3 and heard Emma yelling or crying in the crib whereas the opposite kids in the bed room had been attempting to sleep, information state. The boyfriend advised police he opened the bed room door and advised Emma to cool down, and he or she did, information state.

Hodge said she didn’t get out of mattress when her boyfriend and his brother got here house from understanding, however each said Hodge was awake and in the kitchen when they got here house, information state.

In a follow-up interview, Hodge said she put a hand over the toddler’s face to cease her from crying and put her left hand on the kid’s chest as she lay on her again, information state. As she spoke with investigators, Hodge began crying and said she was sorry for what occurred and that it was an accident, information state.

Meredith Colias-Pete contributed.

Michelle L. Quinn is a contract reporter for the Post-Tribune.

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