Penngrove mother gets 11 years in prison for baby abuse

A Penngrove woman was sentenced to 11 years in prison Thursday for abusing her 6-week-old baby and failing to seek medical treatment for fear doctors would discover she was smoking pot while breast feeding.

Lyndsay Colula, 21, received a year more than her husband, Jesus Colula, 26, for abuse that left the child with a broken leg, fractured ribs and injuries to her head and toes.

The former Sonoma State University student, who has been in custody since her June arrest, blamed her "horrible judgment" on daily drug use but denied ever actually hurting her baby, insisting her husband must have done it.

"I failed to see what was happening," she told Judge Gary Medvigy in a long-winded speech that was mostly inaudible. "I didn't protect her. I was a bad mother."

But the judge said there was equal evidence that both parents inflicted the injuries, which he described as "torturous." He expressed frustration at never learning the exact cause and lashed out at what he said was the mother's continued lies.

"I appreciate your rambling presentation today but there's not a word of it I believe," Medvigy said.

Some of the 20 Colula supporters in the courtroom began crying when the judge denied her bid for probation and sentenced her to six years for felony child cruelty resulting in injury and an additional five years for a domestic violence enhancement.

As they consoled each other in the hallway, Colula's lawyer, Joe Rogoway, said he was shocked at the sentence. Colula pleaded no contest to a count of felony child abuse in August after Medvigy had suggested he would grant probation, the attorney said.

Rogoway said he would have taken the case to trial if he had known Colula would receive so much prison time.

"The defense feels misled by the court," Rogoway said.

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