Woman sentenced to 10 years in toddler's death

Woman sentenced to 10 years in toddler's death

Officials say Maria Owens ran a daycare out of her home in Fairburn, where Kelly was found unresponsive June 1, 2011. Officials say Maria Owens ran a daycare out of her home in Fairburn, where Kelly was found unresponsive June 1, 2011.

A judge sentenced an unlicensed Fulton County daycare owner to 10 years in prison in the death of an 11-month-old who was in her care.

A jury convicted Maria Owens, 44, on charges of murder, aggravated assault and child cruelty in the death of Jaylen Kelly on Friday.

Kelly was found unresponsive at the daycare police said was unlicensed on June 1, 2011. The Fairburn boy died from blunt force trauma three days before his first birthday.

The coroner testified that the baby was beaten so badly that his spinal fracture was consistent with injuries from a car crash. Owens maintains that she was only patting Jaylen's back to help ease his breathing problems.

Kelly's parents had appealed to the judge to sentence Owen to life.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk said the fact that Owens had never been arrested and had no prior record was a consideration in the 10-year sentence. Newkirk opted to sentence Owens to involuntary manslaughter instead of felony murder, which could have brought a 30-year sentence.

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