SALT LAKE CITY — A woman was ordered to prison Friday for killing her 5-year-old daughter in a beating so brutal, veteran prosecutors said it was the most severe they had ever seen.
Stephanie Guadalupe Espindola-Cadillo died July 27, 2010, after being beaten with a spatula and "various types of kitchen implements" for as long as an hour, prosecutor Rob Parrish said. She had wounds from her neck to her knees and other defense wounds on the backs of her hands, where she tried to defend herself.
"The official cause of death was exsanguination," Parrish said, before clarifying: "She bled to death, which is a long, torturous process."
Parrish has worked for 25 years as a prosecutor on child abuse homicide cases but said this case was "the worst, most severe beating I've seen of a child." While most child murders take place within minutes, Parrish said this beating would have lasted anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
"So for her rage to be going on for that amount of time, she definitely deserves to be in prison," he said.
The girl's mother, Angeles Cadillo-Castro, 32, was ordered Friday to spend five years to life in prison for her daughter's brutal death.
The woman pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse homicide, a first-degree felony, in March. She was initially charged with murder, a first-degree felony, which would have carried a potential sentence of 15 years to life. Parrish said they agreed to the amended charge because Cadillo-Castro began to show a willingness to take responsibility.
He said Cadillo-Castro initially said a woman she didn't know showed up at her South Salt Lake home, 726 W. Timbercreek Way (3875 South), and she left her children with the woman only to return and find the girl dead.
Eventually, she gave another account, saying she snapped after leaving the 5-year-old to baby-sit her infant sibling and returned to find the young girl sleeping.
"She got angry because (the girl) wasn't doing her job as a baby-sitter," Parrish said. "I hope that's not what it was. There's probably something more to it."
After the beating, Cadillo-Castro called the girl's father to tell him the girl was unresponsive.
"The father was working three jobs at the time," Parrish said. "He was completely surprised when he came home."
Cadillo-Castro cried throughout her sentencing hearing.
"I'm so sorry," she said through a Spanish language interpreter. "I know I can't change what I've done."
"She's obviously very remorseful. ... She just broke when this happened," defense attorney John West said.
West said his client did not have any criminal history and struggled through a turbulent childhood.
"It's an extremely unfortunate situation," he said. "She was abused as a child. She lived in extreme poverty. She was mentally not capable of raising children."
It is unclear who currently has custody of the couple's other child, although Parrish believes it was the father's family. Though he is working to gain custody, it is unclear whether he will be successful as both he and Cadillo-Castro are in the country illegally.