Viola Bennett had been warned she was endangering her 3-month-old daughter by sleeping with her on a twin-sized mattress, 35th District Court documents state.
The 270-pound Bennett didn’t heed the warnings, and she rolled over and smothered her daughter, Sierra Nadine, on March 9, 2006.
Bennett, 27, pleaded guilty on June 26 to manslaughter in a plea bargain negotiated between the district attorney’s office and her attorney, Lee Haney. District Judge Steve Ellis approved the plea bargain and sentenced her to 10 years in prison.
Bennett and her daughter were living in a duplex off Highway 279, near the top of Day’s Hill, with several other people when the infant died, authorities have said.
In March 2006, Bennett was working as a nurse’s aide at a Brownwood nursing home, court documents state.
On March 8, Bennett got off work at 10 p.m. and laid down with her daughter on a mattress on the living room floor at 6 a.m. March 9. She woke up at 11 a.m. and saw that the baby was not breathing.
An autopsy report stated the baby died of “asphyxia by overlay,” Guthrie said.
Bennett had a 7-week-old son who died in 2002, and that death was not believed to be suspicious, sheriff’s investigator Lana Guthrie said earlier.
In December 2006, Bennett gave birth to another child who was taken into CPS custody, and she also has a child who lives with one of Bennett’s relatives, Guthrie said.
In other recent sentencings, according to District Attorney Micheal Murray’s office:
Stacy Frebert Petz pleaded no contest to driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to six years in prison. Petz, on probation for driving while intoxicated, was revoked and sentenced to six years in prison.
Randall Gene Edwards pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to four years in prison.
Christopher Alexander Jr., on probation for burglary of a habitation with intent to commit assault, was revoked and sentenced to five years in prison.
Daniel Ray Lewis pleaded guilty to burglary of a habitation and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Mary Leighann McCollum pleaded guilty to six offenses of credit card abuse and was sentenced to 20 months in state jail in each case.
Jeri Lynn Smith pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to 18 months in state jail.
Leamon Edwards, on probation for burglary of a building, was sentenced to 15 months in state jail.
Matthew Charles Lowther, on probation for possession of a controlled substance, was revoked and sentenced to one year in state jail.
Elizabeth Elaine Matkin, on probation for fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, was adjudicated and sentenced to 12 months in state jail.