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Judge orders evaluation of Penngrove mom accused of baby abuse

A Sonoma State University student accused of beating her 2-month-old daughter, breaking her leg and seven ribs, was ordered to San Quentin State Prison on Thursday for a diagnostic evaluation.

Lyndsay Colula, 21, a junior from the Los Angeles area, will come back before Judge Gary Medvigy in three months when she could be sentenced to a maximum of 12 years behind bars.

Colula, whose parents have since adopted the infant, cried as deputies placed her in handcuffs at the end of a hearing in which she maintained she didn't know how the baby was injured.

She said through her lawyer she didn't take the baby to see a doctor at first because she was smoking marijuana while breast-feeding and was afraid she'd be reported to Child Protective Services.

Medvigy said it was hard to imagine the "depth of a marijuana stupor" that would prevent Colula from noticing the infant's excruciating pain.

San Quentin officials will now conduct additional interviews to determine if Colula deserves a long prison sentence. She has asked for probation.

The child's father, Jesus Colula, 26, watched from across the courtroom. His sentencing was postponed to Oct. 25 at the request of his lawyer. He remains in custody on an immigration hold.

The parents pleaded no contest last month to a single count of felony child abuse after the injuries were discovered in May during a "well-baby" checkup.

Doctors rejected stories that the child fell off a bed or that the mother sat on the baby, concluding the injuries were deliberate.

Prosecutor Rosanne Darling argued for the maximum sentence, saying the baby was so young she could barely lift her head at the time of the abuse.

Friends and family of Lyndsay Colula appeared in court. Her lawyer, Joe Rogoway, said the mother never heard or felt any bones breaking. She and her husband wrapped the leg in an Ace bandage when they saw swelling, he said.

He acknowledged the mother lied to authorities in a state of panic.

"Mrs. Colula did not intentionally abuse her baby," Rogoway said. "She said she doesn't know what happened."

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com.

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