An Arizona woman put her 17-month-old daughter in a stroller, wheeled her into the desert, and left her to die.
The New York Times is reporting that Ashley Denise Attson allegedly committed the atrocity in Navajo Nation, the largest American Indian reservation. The 22-year-old, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. The U.S. District Judge revealed Monday that he endorsed the prison sentence after a plea deal was reached.
Attson reportedly left her baby daughter in the desert for four days and nights to die in September 2016. The 22-year-old woman then went back to retrieve the body before burying it in an animal hole. Prosecutors revealed that the Arizona woman showed no remorse for her actions as she was still posting pictures on Facebook and meeting friends for ice cream after the heinous act.
Prosecutors also revealed that the infant was born with methamphetamine in her system and had been taken into custody by tribal social services. Ashley Denise Attson had regained custody of the 17-month-old child about two months before she killed her. Prosecutors were attempting to get the Arizona woman life in prison. However, under Attson’s guilty plea, she was handed a 20-year prison sentence, which will be followed by a supervisory release for the next five years.
— Canoe (@Canoe) August 1, 2017
Former Navajo Nation Prosecutor Bernadine Martin has described the sentence as insufficient considering the nature of the crime.
“The child no doubt was afraid, in physical distress and needing the one person who is supposed to care for her the most, that being the mother. 20 years is simply not enough.”
The U.S. attorney’s spokesman refused to comment on the motive for killing the little girl, adding that he could not provide any additional information about the child referred to in court documents as “Jane Doe.” The Navajo Nation, like many Native American tribes, prohibits the death penalty. Even though federal prosecutors are saddled with prosecuting homicides, they rarely mount any challenge against tribal beliefs. However, tribal leaders have been known to endorse death penalty decisions.
In another case involving violence on the American Indian reservation, Tom Begaye is expected to enter a guilty plea for the brutal murder of an 11-year-old girl, CBS News is confirming. Ashlynne Mike was killed in May of 2016 after Begaye lured the young girl and her brother into his vehicle and drove them into the desert.
— Eugene Chin (@gene038) August 2, 2017
The girl’s brother revealed that Begaye left him in the vehicle but took his sister with him on foot. The boy said Begaye, who left with a crowbar in his hand, eventually returned and Ashlynne was not with him. The boy would later escape his captor.
Begaye admitted to investigators that he sexually assaulted the 11-year-old girl and hit her twice in the head with a tire iron. He claimed that when he left her in the desert, she was still moving. Ashlynne’s father sued the Navajo Nation for failing to have an emergency notification system that could have saved his little girl’s life.
An Amber Alert was not issued until 2 a.m., the morning after Ashlynne Mike disappeared.
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