Farmersville woman sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing her newborn in 2011

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Danielle Downing's final court appearance before she goes to prison was quick.

Judge Gary Paden complimented both the prosecution and defense teams for their hard work in reaching a fair outcome. He then sentenced Downing to 15 years in state prison.

After the 29-year-old Farmersville woman recently plead no contest to voluntary manslaughter and child abuse in the death of her newborn girl five years ago. She changed her plea a week before a jury trial was scheduled to start.

"I don't know if we ever feel 15 years is enough for a mother killing its child," said Tulare County Assistant District Attorney Kerri Lopez. "But as far as what we felt we could prove and with the issues in the case, we always try to get a just outcome."

Downing's baby was found in a trash can in front of her Farmersville home in October of 2011.

Police arrested Downing five months later.

Prosecutors said she strangled her baby with its umbilical cord, and then suffocated it using a plastic bag.

Lopez said it was complex case, due to conflicts with evidence and the child's cause of death.

"These are the most vulnerable victims there can be, so it just makes this even more tragic. An infant relies on the mother to stay alive so when a mother does such a brutal crime, it's horrific," Lopez said.

Downing's defense had previously argued her actions were a result of post-partum depression and being sexually abused as a child.

But prosecutors claimed that those issues were not a factor in Downing's decision to kill the baby.
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