A Davenport woman was sentenced Thursday to up to 15 years in prison in connection with death of an 18-month-old and injuries to another child who were both in her care.
“I apologize for making a wrong decision,” Stephanie L. Harris said during a short sentencing hearing in Scott County District Court. “I apologize to the courts for my stupidity. I’m not a troubled person. It’s not me.”
Harris, 31, pleaded guilty in February to child endangerment resulting in serious injury, a Class C felony, and child endangerment resulting in bodily injury, a Class D felony.
According to the court documents:
On Nov. 6, 2014, medics and police were dispatched to Harris' address, 811 W. 14th St., regarding a child having trouble breathing.
The child, an 18-month-old girl, was taken to Genesis Medical Center-East Rusholme Street, Davenport, and then transported to University Hospitals, Iowa City.
The girl never regained consciousness and died two days later. An autopsy showed the cause of death as bleeding on the brain. There also were other marks and injuries to her body that indicated neglect.
Officers who responded to Harris’ home on Nov. 6 also found another child with swelling and bruising to his head and marks on his face.
Harris told officers she had left the 18-month-old at home with the child's 2-year-old brother. The girl fell down a flight of stairs in the home, but Harris could not specify a date.
The child had trouble walking and swelling on her forehead and behind both ears and had suffered several seizures before paramedics were summoned.
Harris did not attempt to get medical attention for the child despite the symptoms, according to the court documents.
During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Thomas Reidel sentenced Harris to up to 10 years in prison on the serious injury charge and up to five years in prison on the bodily injury charge.
He ordered that the sentences run back-to-back based on the nature of the offense and the fact that the two children had separate and distinct injuries.
“You had an obligation to those children,” he said. “When I think of all the things the law is to protect, I think protecting children should be first and foremost on that list.”