A California woman could end up spending the rest of her life behind bars, without the possibility of parole, after a jury convicted her on Friday for the March 17, 2012, murder of her 1-month-old daughter.
A jury in Sacramento, Calif., found 34-year-old Ka Yang guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her infant daughter, who prosecutors say was cooked to death after Yang placed her in a microwave oven for 2 1/2 to five minutes.
Prosecutors described to the jury how Yang placed her daughter, Mirabelle Thao-Lo into a microwave oven, which caused severe thermal injuries to her body. The coroner’s report said that Mirabelle sustained major burns over most of her body, and the microwave radiation had literally cooked the infant’s small intestine and stomach.
Linda Parisi, Yang’s attorney, argued that the incident took place while Yang was in the grip of an epileptic seizure, however, the jury rejected that explanation.
Yang originally told investigators that she blacked out while holding Mirabelle in her arms and when she awoke, she found herself on the floor with her burned child next to a space heater, according to Yahoo News. When further investigation uncovered inconsistentsies in her story, Yang admitted to detectives that she had lied about the incident, then said that she may suffer from multiple personalities.
Investigators said in an affidavit that when Mirabelle was found, she had suffered extensive burns from head to toe, but her clothing and hair was unburned. This was the first clue that Mirabelle had been injured by some other means. Detectives subsequently found her pacifier inside of the microwave.
According to court records, Yang has a history of epileptic seizures, but paramedics testified that she was not disoriented when they treated her. Although Yang is married and has three other children, prosecutors did not present any evidence of previous abuse, nor did they suggest a motive for killing the child.
Yang’s attorney expressed her disappointment with the verdict, saying that it was a terrible accident and her client was unaware of what she was doing.
“Ms. Yang suffers from epilepsy. She had an epileptic seizure. It was not deliberate conduct,” Parisi said.
Despite the heinous nature of the crime, prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. The Sacramento District Attorney’s Office said that Yang is facing a sentence of 26 years to life in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced in December.