Woman who glued daughter's hands to wall, 'I'm not a monster'
Elizabeth Escalona, 23, faces up to 45 years in prison for abusing her daughter.
A 23-year-old Texas mother who beat her daughter and glued her hands to a wall told a Dallas judge on Wednesday that she was a monster a year ago, but she has changed.
"Elizabeth Escalona is not a monster," she said of herself, according to a tweet by Dallas Morning News' crime reporter Scott Goldstein. "I want everybody to know that I'm not a monster. I love my kids. I love my babies."
Escalona pleaded guilty in July to first-degree injury to a child, a felony. Prosecutors are seeking a 45-year prison sentence.
The sentencing hearing extends into its fourth day Thursday -- an unusually long time for such a hearing. It has included tearful testimony from Escalona and family members who argued the mother of five could be a better parent with proper counseling and treatment.
Police say Escalona lost her temper in September 2011 with her then-2-year-old daughter, Jocelyn Cedillo, over potty training problems. Escalona beat and kicked Jocelyn before sticking her hands to an apartment wall using an adhesive commonly known as Super Glue, according to prosecutors.
Jocelyn suffered bleeding in her brain, a fractured rib, multiple bruises and bite marks, and was in a coma for a couple of days. Some skin had been torn off her hands, where doctors also found glue residue and white paint chips from the apartment wall.
An image from the scene shows tiny hand prints against the wall.
Asking the judge for leniency, Escalona spoke of a young life marred by physical and sexual abuse.
“It was too chaotic,” she said, according to a tweet from Dallas Morning News crime reporter Scott Goldstein. “My mother and father were always arguing.”
Her father, she said later, molested her.
Escalona wore a green and gray jail suit and glasses and punctuated her answers with “no, ma’am” or “yes, ma’am,” Goldstein tweeted. She said the father of her oldest children abused her three or four times a week – a pattern that ended when she went to rehab for cocaine.
Jocelyn’s father was also abusive, she said. The day before she glued her daughter’s hands to the wall, she fought with him, and he beat her and choked her, she said.
She cried as she recounted what she did to her daughter, according to Goldstein, "I hit her, I kicked her constantly and she didn't deserve that.”
She described a grim home life -- four of her children slept on a sofa because a mattress was infested with bed bugs.
Mental health counselor Melanie Davis testified Wednesday that she believes from the conversations she has had with Escalona that she loves her five children, one of whom was born after the attack. Davis said she has been counseling Escalona since June, nine months after her arrest.
Escalona has set herself the short-term goal of finding a job and the long-term aim of getting her kids back, Davis testified, adding that the young woman "is need of further counseling services."
But prosecutors have painted a portrait of a violent young woman, playing recordings of her as a teenager threatening to kill her mother. They said she was a former gang member who started smoking marijuana at age 11.
Her mother, Ofelia Escalona, has stood by her daughter and now cares for Escalona's five children, including Jocelyn, who has recovered.
On the stand, Ofelia Escalona burst into tears and said, “I wish as a mother that I had done more to protect my daughter.” She pleaded with the judge to show her daughter mercy.
Wrote oldstein in a blog post at the Dallas Morning News:
That’s a particularly interesting stance for Ofelia Escalona to take given that she is the one who took 2-year-old Jocelyn Cedillo to the hospital in September 2011. Jocelyn’s siblings told investigators that their mother hit the child with a belt and a shoe and dragged her around by her feet. They said she kicked the girl and hit her in the stomach with a jug of milk.
Ofelia Escalona is also the one now caring for Jocelyn and her four siblings. Under the terms of an agreement with Child Protective Services, the children are not allowed to have contact with their biological mother.
*I thought this cunt was pregnant when arrested last year. No word on that baby. 5 Kids at 23? Never happen to me!
Surely not everybody was Kung Fu fighting.