After a courtroom confession that was disputed by prosecutors, an Owings Mills woman was sentenced to 18 years yesterday for battering and shaking to death an infant she was watching in her home.
Thu Thi Le, 31, was sentenced by Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge John G. Turnbull II in the July 1999 death of 4-month-old Kimdang Thi Le.
Le, who is not related to the victim, was convicted Feb. 14 of second-degree murder and child abuse.
Le had been Kimdang's baby sitter for about three months when she called the parents July 2, 1999, to report that the baby seemed ill, according to testimony.
When the parents arrived at Le's home in the 300 block of Kendig Drive, the baby's head was bruised and she appeared listless, according to testimony. She died five days later.
At sentencing yesterday, Le apologized to the victim's family, turning to them as she tearfully said that she was responsible and was sorry for the pain she caused.
"Please give me forgiveness, I am very remorseful and I regret what happened," Le said through an interpreter.
Le told Turnbull that on the day of the assault, she was watching her own three children, had household chores to perform and became angry because the baby wouldn't stop crying.
She said she lost her temper and dropped the baby on the floor, twice. "I lost my control," she said. "I held the baby, and I dropped the baby on the floor."
But that account was disputed by Assistant State's Attorneys Susan Hazlett and John Tracy.
"This baby wasn't dropped, this baby was slammed," Hazlett said.
She said that experts testified that the baby suffered three blows to the head and a fractured skull, and was violently shaken.
"The medical evidence is uncontroverted that this child was shaken to mush," Hazlett said.