AUSTIN, Texas, April 5 (UPI) -- A Texas woman who pleaded guilty to smearing feces on her daughter's catheter has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Emily Beth McDonald, 25, pleaded guilty to injury to a child Monday and was sentenced by State District Judge Julie Kocurek under the terms of a plea bargain that spared McDonald from a possible life sentence, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Her lawyer said McDonald was "under extreme psychological stress" at the time of her crime brought on by factors including fatigue and depression.
Attorney Bob Phillips said McDonald put feces on her daughter's catheter because she wanted to elevate the girl's fever, something she hoped would make doctors continue an antibiotics regimen that they had planned to end.
"Obviously it was a criminal act, and it was wrongheaded, but it was done with a pure heart," Phillips said.
McDonald had been set to go to trial next week, facing up to life in prison on a charge of first-degree injury to a child for intentionally and knowingly causing serious bodily injury to her daughter.
She pleaded guilty instead to second-degree injury to a child for recklessly injuring the girl.