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Associated Press, Published January 12 2012

Minot man, woman sentenced for killing toddler

MINOT, N.D. — A Minot mother and her boyfriend have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms in the beating death of the woman's toddler son a year ago.

The mother also was verbally reprimanded by the judge, who among other things said he was appalled at her request to marry her boyfriend in jail.

Nineteen-month-old Conrad Ayala died Feb. 14. Authorities said the boy had suffered injuries including a fractured skull and broken jaw and was covered “head to foot” in bruises. They said the injuries appeared to have been inflicted over a long period of time, and the state medical examiner determined the child died from a head injury “in battered child syndrome.”

The boy's mother, Cassondra Ayala, 21, and her 33-year-old boyfriend, Anthony Robinson, were charged with murder and pleaded guilty in deals with prosecutors last fall. Judge Douglas Mattson on Wednesday went along with the plea deals and sentenced Ayala to serve 22 years in prison and Robinson to 27 years behind bars, the Minot Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/AxgyQ8 ).

Friends and family of Ayala who testified during her sentencing said she was “controlled” by Robinson at the time of the boy's death and had a negligible role in the physical abuse. Her attorney said she also had suffered physical and sexual abuse, and had dealt with mental problems. Ayala read a prepared statement in court.

“I will always miss my son,” she said, showing little emotion. “I want to tell him I'm sorry. I made a terrible choice.”

Mattson was not persuaded by claims of mitigating circumstances, saying the boy's continuous abuse “is beyond any rational explanation.”

“I don't care about any of that other garbage you experienced,” he told Ayala. “That in no way excuses you after the very first beating and wounding of the child.”

Mattson said he was appalled that Ayala requested permission to marry Robinson while both were incarcerated for Conrad's death.

“I've never had a situation where someone has been so blind,” the judge said.

Robinson's sentencing was brief because a condition of this plea deal prohibited him from arguing for any reduction in the sentence called for in the agreement with prosecutors. Mattson told Robinson that he was “lucky” his attorney had negotiated what the judge felt was a lenient deal.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com


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