RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A Richmond judge sentenced a babysitter to 20 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter and felony child abuse resulting in serious injury.
Gabriela Gonzales, 25, pleaded no contest in November as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. She faced 50 years in prison on a second-degree felony murder charge until the plea deal reduced the charge to voluntary manslaughter.
In October 2011, Gonzales was babysitting 2-year-old Keiry Nicole Dominguez Martinez, the daughter of a roommate at a home off Tifton Court in South Richmond. The child’s mother was out of state looking for a job.
The child was injured while in Gonzales’ care. An ambulance took the child to the hospital where she later died. Gonzales claimed the child fell off a bed, but the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office argued Keiry’s skull, brain and spinal cord injuries suggested a violent attack.
Dr. Robin Foster, associate professor of emergency medicine and director of pediatric emergency services at VCU Medical Center, testified Keiry had three skull fractures, spinal cord injuries, along with injuries indicative of severe blunt force trauma to her head and brain. The child was on life support for three days until being declared dead.
Judge Margaret P. Spencer sentenced Gonzales to 10 years for voluntary manslaughter and 10 years on the felony child abuse charge. Those sentences will be served consecutively. As an illegal immigrant from Mexico, prosecutors said Gonzales could face federal deportation proceedings. She has a toddler of her own who is now in the custody of her boyfriend’s parents in Richmond.