Bay City News Service
Citing a series of "continuous lies" and "contrived stories," a Sonoma County Superior Court judge Thursday morning sentenced a Penngrove woman to 11 years in prison for injuring her 6-week-old child last year.
Judge Gary Medvigy sentenced Lyndsay Colula, 21, to a year more than the term he imposed on her husband, Jesus Daniel Colula, 26, in November.
The couple pleaded no contest in August to willfully causing the injuries, and admitted to causing great bodily injury to a child under age 5.
They gave several different reasons for the infant's injuries, which included a broken leg. They said the baby fell out of bed, fell out of a bassinet, was pounced on by the family's dog and was injured when Lyndsay rolled onto the child in bed while she was sleeping.
The injuries were discovered after the couple took the child for a checkup at a Sonoma clinic in May. Doctors at Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland then examined the child and notified Child Protective Services.
The baby was taken from the couple and put in the care of Lyndsay's parents. The Colulas were arrested in June after an investigation by the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.
Defense attorney Joseph Rogoway told Medvigy in September that Lyndsay did not get medical treatment for the baby after the injuries occurred because she was addicted to marijuana and was afraid of losing the baby, especially since she had nursed the girl while smoking marijuana.
As for how the injuries occurred, Rogoway said, "She doesn't know
In September, Medvigy ordered her to undergo a psychological evaluation over three months at San Quentin State Prison.
In a long statement to the court this morning and in a letter to the judge, Lyndsay Colula said she realized during her psychological evaluation that her previous explanations for the injuries were untrue, and that she now blames her husband for injuring their child while she was not at home.
"She realized the person she trusted the most abused her daughter and that he was a monster," Rogoway said.
Medvigy told Colula afterward, "I appreciate your rambling presentation, but there isn't a word of it I believe."
Deputy District Attorney Rosanne Darling said Colula blaming her husband "is all too convenient" and lacks credibility. She said Colula realized during her evaluation at San Quentin that "her lies caught up to her" and she asked the judge to impose a state prison term.
Rogoway argued for probation, saying Lyndsay's focus at home was on marijuana, and that her relationship to her habit outweighed the relationship with her child.
In imposing the state prison term, Medvigy said he believes both of the Colulas inflicted the injuries. He said the injuries were traumatic, violent and intentional, and he was not convinced Lyndsay is remorseful.
Darling said after the sentencing, "The people believe this was a just sentence commensurate with the injuries that were inflicted on a 6-week old child."
Rogoway said the defense was misled by the court. He said Medvigy induced the defendants to plead no contest by representing probation as an appropriate sentence in the case.
"We thought we would get probation after the diagnostic evaluation, then he maxed her out," Rogoway said.
"We would have gone to trial," Rogoway said.
The maximum term the Colulas faced was 12 years.
"The sentence is absolutely shocking," the defense attorney said.
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