SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Mountain View woman who abused her 9-year-old daughter over about a year and a half, culminating with a fatal punch and kick to the child's stomach, was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years to life in state prison.
Crystal Cardenas, 27, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder.
Deputy District Attorney Lindsey Krause said Elizabeth Holloway was choked, punched, kicked, burned and thrown to the ground during the time she lived with her mother.
Krause told Judge Eugenia Eyherabide that the victim suffered verbal and physical abuse from her mother on a daily basis.
The prosecutor said the defendant talked to her daughter "like she was a piece of trash" and "discarded her like a piece of trash."
Angela Holloway said Cardenas took away her niece and her daughter's best friend.
"There is nothing in this world that makes what she did to my niece OK," the victim's aunt told the judge, adding that no child should lose their life to her own mother.
Lee Holloway said he would gladly trade his life for his granddaughter's.
Speaking of the defendant's abuse and subsequent murder of her daughter, he said, "Who would stoop that low to do that?"
The victim's father also addressed the defendant at her sentencing hearing.
"I don't know how you could do that to her," William Holloway told Cardenas.
The judge told family members not to blame themselves for not doing more to save the victim from her mother's abuse.
"There is no one to blame but Ms. Cardenas," Eyherabide said, "Don't blame yourself."
The judge urged the victim's family not to forget her.
"Don't forget her smile," the judge said. "Don't forget her ever."
Cardenas and her boyfriend, Lorenzo Castillo, had moved into an apartment on Milbrae Street in mid-January 2011 with the victim, her 7-year-old sister and year-old brother.
A few days before the girl died on Jan. 17, 2011, Cardenas punched her older daughter in the abdomen, which severed her intestine and bruised her pancreas, Krause said. The girl vomited and lost feeling in her lower legs and told her younger half-sister she felt like she was going to die, the prosecutor said.
San Diego police said officers and medics found Elizabeth unconscious in the apartment following an emergency call, and she died at a hospital about 90 minutes later.
Castillo pleaded guilty last year to felony child abuse and was sentenced to nine years behind bars.