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Mother sentenced in death of child, 7

November 13, 2008
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NEW YORK - The mother of 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown was sentenced to at least 40 years in prison yesterday for doing nothing as her battered and malnourished daughter lay dying.

Nixzaliz Santiago received more than a decade longer in prison than her husband, who was accused of delivering the fatal blow after the girl was caught stealing yogurt.

Rodriguez, who was Nixzmary's stepfather, is serving 29 years on a manslaughter conviction, while Santiago was convicted last month of manslaughter, assault and other charges that increased her prison time.

Assistant District Attorney Ama Dwimoh said the 30-year-old mother deserved a harsh punishment for an "act of omission" - failing to save her child's life by taking her to the hospital. She was sentenced to 40 1/3 to 43 years. "Being held accountable is one and the same under the law," Dwimoh told reporters outside court.

Santiago's attorney did not respond to a phone message. Her lawyers had argued during the trial that she was so traumatized and frightened by Rodriguez that she was incapable of helping Nixzmary.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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