Mom sentenced for gluing toddler
DALLAS (AP) — A Dallas woman who beat her 2-year-old daughter and glued the toddler’s hands to a wall was sentenced Friday to 99 years in prison by a judge who described his decision as a necessary punishment for a brutal, shocking attack.
Elizabeth Escalona did not immediately react as State District Judge Larry Mitchell pronounced the sentence at the end of a five-day hearing.
Prosecutor Eren Price, who originally offered Escalona a plea deal for 45 years, had argued that she now thought the 23-year-old mother deserved life.
Mitchell said his decision came down to one thing.
“On Sept. 7, 2011, you savagely beat your child to the edge of death,” Mitchell said. “For this you must be punished.”
The beating left Jocelyn Cedillo in a coma for a couple of days.
Escalona’s other children told authorities their mother attacked Jocelyn due to potty training problems. Police say she kicked her daughter in the stomach, beat her with a milk jug, then stuck her hands to an apartment wall with an adhesive commonly known as Super Glue.
Jocelyn suffered bleeding in her brain, a fractured rib, multiple bruises and bite marks, a doctor testified.
Some skin had been torn off her hands, where doctors also found glue residue and white paint chips from the apartment wall.
Escalona pleaded guilty in July to one count of felony injury to a child.
Price said Escalona would be eligible to apply for parole in 30 years.
Mitchell could have sentenced Escalona to anywhere from probation to life in prison. A sentence as long as 99 years is rare for felony injury to a child cases in Texas, but not unheard of. According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, about 2,100 inmates are serving prison sentences for felony injury offenses involving a child, elderly or disabled victim. Just fewer than 5 percent of those inmates are serving sentences of 99 years or more, including life.
Body encased in concrete identified
DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Authorities on Friday identified the body of a man who was found entombed in concrete in the backyard of a northeast Georgia home.
The man has been identified as Sean Dugas, 30, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner’s office. The body was found Monday encased in a plastic storage container filled with concrete.
Authorities this week charged twin brothers Christopher and William Cormier, 31, with murder in the death of Dugas, a former newspaper reporter in Pensacola, Fla. The Cormier brothers are also charged with concealing death.
“It’s a little hard to wrap your head around it,” said Kris Wernowsky, who worked at the Pensacola News Journal, where he sat next to Dugas for about three years. “I’ve worked there for so many years and covered many things in Florida. You never would have thought you would go to a website and click on a story about someone you know. … It’s heartbreaking.”
Dugas’ dreadlocks and bushy long beard helped him stand out easily in the Pensacola area on the Florida Panhandle, Wernowsky said. Dugas had covered a wide variety of topics, including breaking news and entertainment, the newspaper said on its website.
Dugas worked for the News Journal from 2005 to 2010, rising from a clerk to a police reporter.
“He was a good breaking-news reporter,” Wernowsky said. “He was the type of guy who was eager and loved his job. I rarely heard about him complaining about anything.”
Winder, Ga., police officer Chris Cooper said this week that medical examiners declared the death a homicide based on the number and location of the man’s injuries. The autopsy revealed that the man died of blunt force trauma to the head about a month ago.
Georgia authorities on Monday arrested the twins at a home in Winder that was being rented by their father. Winder is a small city located about 45 miles northeast of Atlanta.
Southwest takes turn, raises fares
DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines is making a 180-degree turn and raising fares on many routes by up to $10 per round trip.
The self-proclaimed low-fare airline declined to match a $10 increase by United Airlines earlier this week, helping force United to roll back prices.
But on Friday, Southwest raised fares $2 each way for trips under 501 miles, $3 each way for 501 to 1,000 miles, and $5 each way for longer trips.
Brad Hawkins, a spokesman for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co., says the reason is simple: The airline’s costs are rising.
J.P. Morgan analyst Jamie Baker says Southwest started by raising prices on a limited number of flights, then broadened the increase and included flights by its AirTran Airways subsidiary. He expects most other airlines will match it by Saturday.
Baby is a delight for numerologists
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A dream alignment for numerologists has come true in the delivery room of a Des Moines hospital.
The Des Moines Register reports that Laila Fitzgerald weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces when she was born. She came into the world on Thursday, which, numerically speaking, was 10/11/12. She arrived, militarily speaking, at 1314, which would be 1:14 p.m. for civilians.
So the numbers associated with her birth are 8-9-10-11-12-13-14.
Laila’s mother, 26-year-old Katie Deremiah, of Des Moines, says she had a feeling Thursday would be the day, even though the due date was Oct. 19.
Laila’s father, 26-year-old Ryan Fitzgerald, told The Register that he would buy a lottery ticket as soon as he left the hospital.