A former Palm Harbor home day care provider was reportedly sentenced today to 15 years in prison in the death of a baby in her care. Stephanie Spurgeon was found guilty of manslaughter in February.
Spurgeon reportedly ran a daycare out of her home in the Deep Spring subdivision. On Aug. 1, 2008, the grandmother of 1-year-old Maria Harris picked her up after her first day at the home, to find Harris limp and not acting normally.
Maria reportedly died soon after.
Through tears, grandmother Pat Harris reportedly said: "I loved that baby so much. I would've gladly died in her place."
Judge Cynthia Newton reportedly said the jury spent almost 24 hours deliberating on this case. "That's longer than any other trial I've had," she said.
"Considering all the circumstances and testimony, the only just sentence in this case would be the 15-year maximum."
During the trial, medical evidence about "shaken baby syndrome" was reportedly presented. The prosecution presented doctors that testified Maria Harris had been thrown onto a bed or shaken very hard.
Spurgeon's defense team reportedly countered that nobody saw their client hurt the child, and the infant's injuries could have happened long before being dropped off at the day care center.
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