A Denver mother who beat her 2-month-old daughter to death will serve 35 years in prison.
Kelsey Newell-Skinner, 23, received the reduced sentence on June 13 in exchange for pleading guilty to second-degree murder in February, according to KCNC. Prosecutors had asked for a 48-year sentence.
Newell-Skinner was arrested in July 2014 after she said she woke up and found her daughter Natalee severely beaten, with bruises all over her body and bite marks on her thigh, Westword reported. The then-21-year-old mom initially didn't realize she was the one who attacked her daughter, claiming she couldn't remember anything after a hard night of drinking.
But records showed a series of text messages between Newell-Skinner and Chantz Darrow, the father of two of Newell-Skinner's five children. Exchanged that afternoon, the texts say Newell-Skinner "must have been very drunk last night, because she just woke up and the baby had been beaten," an affidavit notes, while she told Darrow "she did not even remember last night and she felt horrible."
Darrow didn't arrive at the apartment until two hours later. When he did, he phoned Newell-Skinner's mother, and the grandmother was the one who finally brought the severely injured newborn to the hospital. In the meantime, Newell-Skinner had fled the apartment, leaving her baby behind because she did not want to be arrested, Westword reported.
Natalee's father, identified only as Jonathan by KMGH, told a judge what he saw after he received a call from Newell-Skinner's mother to come to the hospital.
"I walked in the room I just saw Natalee, like, all the doctors around her, probably like 12 doctors around her, and they were saying like they needed to transport her," he told the judge in the case. "And she looked like she'd been really badly beaten."
Jonathan told the court his daughter fought for life for four days.
"And she just, she left this earth in my arms," he said. "I got her baptized and all, family and friends in the room and everything."
The death also led to the eventual criminal conviction of a Denver Human Services caseworker, who forged reports in the case to cover up the fact the agency did not follow protocol when red flags were raised about Newell-Skinner, Westword reported.