Homedale Mom To Be Sentenced Friday In Death Of Daughter
MURPHY, Idaho (KBOI) - A Homedale mom who pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter for killing her two-year-old daughter by burning her body in barrel is still waiting on a prison sentence.
Veronica Herrera was back in court today, where attorneys spent several hours questioning witnesses and examining evidence from within the case to determine how long she will spend in prison.
After hours of witness testimony, both sides were expected to present their closing arguments, however the judge decided the hearing would then recess until Thursday morning.
Veronica's mother, Robyn, testified in front of the court, emotionally recalling the details of the day her granddaughter, Nikita Herrera, was killed.
Veronica had told police Nikita died after falling off of her kiddy potty and bumping her head on the heater. Robyn Herrera told the court today that her daughter came to her house crying afterwards, saying she had "made something worse than it was," by then burning the child's body.
Robyn said her daughter was scared to notify the authorities because she was afraid of how they would react.
"She didn’t want the children taken away because she worked so hard to get them back," Robyn Herrera said. "She did all the programs, she got off the drugs and she didn't want her children to get taken away."
Prosecutors discount the story, saying they believe Veronica abused and neglected Nikita before she was killed. Dr. Paul McPherson, a pediatrician at St. Luke’s Children Hospital who specializes in dealing with child abuse and neglect, says that type of fall would very be very unlikely to cause trauma or death.
"We call them short falls, or household falls," McPherson said. "Medical literature indicates that it is less than one in 1 million that fall from a short height that might have any significant injury or death."
A forensic anthropologist told the judge they were able to recovery 85 percent of the bones burned, but that they couldn't identify the cause of death specifically.
The judge said Veronica Herrera could face up to 40 years in prison for her crimes, but will wait to hear closing arguments until Friday morning.