Prosecutors were seeking 45 years in the case of Elizabeth Escalona, 23, who pleaded guilty July 12 to first-degree injury to a child after admitting to beating her 2-year-old daughter Jocelyn and gluing her hands to a wall in September of last year. A district judge, however, nearly doubled that sentence, sending the mother to prison for 99 years Friday. A charge of first-degree injury to a child carries a sentence of five years to life.
The Dallas mom’s three other children witnessed the abuse, which resulted in bleeding of the brain, a fractured rib and severe bruising. According to prosecutors, the abuse began over potty training problems and only escalated when Jocelyn lost bladder control in the midst of the beating. It is unclear how long Jocelyn spent glued to the wall before being taken to the hospital, where she spent several days in a coma. Dr. Amy Barton, a former child abuse specialist at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas said, “When I think about the time involved in that and what that scene must have looked like, it’s overwhelming.”
After the beating, Escalona called her mother, Oefelia Escalona, 42. When she arrived, Oefelia Escalona testified that there was something different about her daughter’s face: “I had my daughter in front of me, but she was not all there.” She then saw Jocelyn on the floor with soiled pants, changed her and brought her out to the car where her son was waiting. Then, Oefelia Escalona tearfully told the court Monday, Jocelyn started talking and asking for food, leading her to believe that a trip to the emergency room was not necessary. She told her son to turn around and brought Jocelyn back home. “I made a horrible mistake,” she told the court.
Escalona’s children, including a fifth child born after her arrest, are now in the custody of Oefelia Escalona.