A killer babysitter has been jailed over the death of a two year-old girl after she swaddled her as punishment when the toddler wet herself.
Swaddling is the practice of wrapping infants in blankets or similar cloths so that movement of the limbs is tightly restricted.
Last month Tranaya Darnecia Spencer, 22, from Portage, Michigan, pleaded no contest to charges of manslaughter in connection to a two-year-old's death.
Kalamazoo County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Scott W. Brower said a plead of no contest is treated the same as as if she had plead guilty.
In March 2020 two-year-old Royalty Hooper-Houston tragically died at her apartment in Portage, Michigan after Spencer wrapped her tightly in a blanket after the toddler had a potty training accident.
Spencer then tied pieces of clothing around the blanket to stop the youngster from moving.
She then left Royalty tied up for several hours, before finding her unresponsive.
Spencer – who issued a groveling apology during Monday’s court hearing – rushed to hold Royalty under a cold tap in an attempt to revive her, and struck the child’s head several times while doing so.
The young victim’s temperature hit 41C, and she died several days after being rushed to hospital.
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A coroner subsequently ruled Royalty had died of multiple injuries, including asphyxia.
Deputies arrested Spencer on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, on a two-count felony warrant related to the death. She was charged in court June 17 with manslaughter and third-degree child abuse.
On Monday, January 4, Spencer was ordered to serve between two and 15 years in prison over the death.
Prosecutor Christin Mehrtens-Carlin told Monday’s sentencing hearing: "An adult knows that if you wrap up a two year-old for several hours, you are taking a great risk of death or great bodily harm.
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"And that risk includes when you then take the child and are shaking the child under water and shaking her so hard that you slam her head off the wall and slam her body on the ground.
"Those are all thing the defendant admitted that she did."
WoodTV reports that Mehrtens-Carlin and Sentencing Judge Paul Bridenstine agreed that Spencer had not meant to kill Royalty.
But Judge Bridenstine handed Spencer the lengthy custodial sentence after condemning her "completely inappropriate" and "grossly negligent" behaviour.
Apologising to the court, Spencer – a mother of two – said: "I just want to say that I’m sorry.
"I just want to say that I just regret everything that happened. I was caring for Royalty since she was six months old and I loved her liked one of my own daughter.
"I would never do anything to intentionally hurt her."
Spencer said her family planned to lay flowers on Royalty’s grave on January 13 to mark what would have been the youngster’s third birthday.
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