A California mother whose 2-year-old daughter died after being left alone overnight in a sealed car while the mom drank nearby with a friend and then fell asleep will be sentenced to more than 14 years in prison after pleading no contest to voluntary manslaughter.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced the plea by the mother, 35-year-old Lacey Ana Mazzarella, on Tuesday.
The child, June Love Agosto, was left alone in her mother’s car for five hours, with the engine running, the heat turned on and the windows rolled up.
Authorities said June died on Sept. 23, 2019, after being found unconscious in the vehicle parked in West Carson, California. The child was rushed to a hospital, where efforts to revive her were unsuccessful.
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Mazzarella, who lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, allegedly told police that, at around 11 p.m. on Sept. 21, she left June buckled into her car set, with a blanket over her legs, and the heat on, according to a police report.
She allegedly told police she’d been drinking with a friend in a vehicle parked next to hers. Mazzarella eventually said she fell asleep in the friend’s car, the report alleges.
According to police, Mazzarella said she woke up nearly five hours later. She opened the door to her car and noticed vomit on June’s clothing. June also sustained burns to her face, chest and arms.
Police allege that she removed June from the vehicle, placed her on the lawn, and sprayed her with a hose to try to cool her off.
The police report says EMTs noted the toddler’s body temperature at the scene was 107.5 degrees.
Mazzarella was originally charged with one count each of murder and child neglect resulting in death, according to a statement from the district attorney’s Office.
On Tuesday, she entered no-contest pleas to one count each of voluntary manslaughter, mayhem and child abuse resulting in death.
She is expected to be sentenced to 14 years and eight months in state prison on January 13, reports the district attorney's office.
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