A woman in Ohio was sentenced to 20 years in prison for smothering her 16-month-old with a pillow after the girl wouldn’t stop crying.
Janishcia Cottingham, 25, was scheduled to appear in court on May 6, but she reportedly gave a detailed confession to police beforehand. Cottingham pleaded guilty to manslaughter, felonious assault and child endangering charges for the 2013 death of her daughter Robin.
Cottingham never explained why she killed her daughter and prosecutors are still unclear as to the mother’s reasoning.
“She misses her child dearly,” said Will Welsh, Cottingham’s attorney, to The Cincinnati Enquirer.
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Some of Cottingham’s family members said that Cottingham had suffered from depression and anxiety. She was initially found to be incompetent to stand trial, but that decision was later reversed when she was deemed able to understand the charges against her and assist in her own trial.
Cottingham had allegedly smothered Robin while holding her and then placed the child’s body in a travel crib. Her grandmother heard Cottingham talking on the phone saying that the “baby was in heaven,” which ultimately led to the involvement of the police.
Cottingham struggled with other issues as well. She was an unemployed single mother and had been homeless during the early stages of her pregnancy. The Freestore Foodbank, one of Ohio’s largest food banks, assisted Cottingham during that time and featured her in a video titled, "Neighbors We Serve: Janishcia" on their YouTube page.
"Hi, I'm Janishcia Cottingham and I'm a Freestore Foodbank client," said Cottingham in the video. "I got laid off and had to leave my apartment and now I'm homeless. Then I found out I was six weeks pregnant. It was just more pressure and more stress."
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The video was removed from the YouTube page after the organization began receiving media inquiries about Cottingham.
“I can’t speculate as to why anyone would do some horrific act,” said Freestore Foodbank CEO & President Kurt Reiber to WCPO 9, “But what I can tell you is the people we see each and every day at the Freestore Foodbank are really at a point of crisis in their lives. Sometimes even the best things we can do aren’t enough."
Image source: Daily Mail